Saturday, May 16, 2015

Goodbye Mad Men, To An Era & A Show

With the greatest TV show of the past decade wrapping up, Mad Men will go down as a TV classic. Josh Weltman, co-producer of the show, wrote a book called Seducing Strangers: How To Get People To Buy What You’re Selling.  Here are some of its zingers:

“When looking for Big Ideas, try coming up with small ways to ding the competition.”

“Everyone says they hate negative ads, but there’s a reason they work in advertising, politics, and other zero-sum situations.  Negative ads work because people behave like animals.”

“As strange as it seems, the best way to get people to try, sample, or buy is to somehow limit their ability to do so.”

“The best way to arouse curiosity and generate inquiries is by leaving something out.”

“Sometimes the best way to change a brand or reputation is to change the promise, not the product.”

“People communicate for two reasons: to transfer facts and to evoke emotions.”

“Your task is to show people that you see and understand their story and where they want to be.”

Even though I’m in the book publicity and marketing industry, I hadn’t given too much thought to the world of advertising until I started watching Mad Men.  I fell in love with it and all that it represented – ideas are power, creativity is valued, people and concepts matter.  Today’s world of social media and digital everything really makes the 60’s Madison Avenue world seem like the 1860s.  Don Draper would be replaced by a Google algorithm.

Things back then were based on gut instincts and experience.  Now things are based on technology.

Human relationships mattered back then.  It was meet first, telephone second, mailed letter third.  Now it’s Facebook posts, tweeting, and email communications.

Brands existed and the advertising supported them then.  Today, the advertising or message becomes the brand.

Back then, they sold us with words and a story.  Now, it’s a video or image and a hashtag.

Back then, people read ads, watched commercials, and listened to messages from sponsors.  Now people are bombarded by QR Codes, websites, fan pages, and blogs.

Mad Men ends not just a TV show, but a time in our history when advertising was a lucrative, skilled art.  We won’t go back to those days, and we won’t forever be left clicking on links for freebies, but right now we very much are in an era where the public discourses on everything is driven by everyone and no one.  The Mad Men era was one of centralized, filtered delivery by way of three TV networks, a handful of nationally prominent magazines, local newspapers, and a few favorite radio stations.  Now, it’s the Wild West across a global digital landscape that keeps changing and growing.

Where are you now, Don Draper?

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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