“Mad Men” Drink But Not To Get Drunk

According to Ad Age, DirectTV will be the sole sponsor of the season’s final episode of Mad Men. The article explores the sponsorship model, while also touching on product placement in the show.

With its unflinching look beneath the veneer of 1960s politesse, it’s easy to see why brands such as Jack Daniels’ parent Brown-Forman, which inked a product-placement deal with “Mad Men,” were cautious.
“They have this whole list of how it [Jack Daniels] can be used,” said Matthew Weiner, the program’s creator. “They don’t want to see people driving. They don’t want to see people hitting each other. They don’t want to see people fighting. They do not want to see people having sex immediately after drinking. You’re sort of like, ‘What is the purpose of Jack Daniels if there’s no sex after it and there’s no fighting after it?’
“I jokingly said to AMC, ‘Would they mind if it was being used to sterilize instruments in an underground abortion?'”

Having spent much of my ad career hawking highly regulated products like beer, booze and cigs, Weiner’s hilarious comments appeal to me. Working in these industries, you learn quick that the lawyers, not the brand managers, have the final say.
What I find truly insane is how the omnipresent legal threat hangs over the entire creative process. You hear colleagues say things like “that’ll never get by legal,” before the concept ever materializes on one’s sketch pad.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.