Tuesday, August 26, 2008

where is @don_draper when you need him?

Like many twitterers on this circuit, I was followed by Mad Men. At first it felt strange to receive updates from fictional characters. (@Don_Draper: Taking Betty to Birdland tonite to hear Coltrane or @Peggy_Olson: Hope Belle Jolie account is ok. Worries me actually.) But I found they integrated seamlessly into my stream of tweets (because who isn't a fictional character in cyberspace) and I began to look forward to their 140-character dispatches of daily doings and angsts circa 1962. I even began to interact with them directly, exhanging a friendly banter of girl talk with @Betty_Draper (who promised to try Jackie's milliner at Berdorf's.)

What brilliant marketers are folks at AMC, I thought. First, Sterling Cooper business cards as promos. Then, wrapping the Times Square shuttle (a train Draper takes). Now, they reach outside the (tv) box again to send their characters into Twitterville, connecting with (and recruiting) fans, maximizing entertainment value of their content, pushing it further, making it even more seductive-- which will make the show more seductive to advertisers, too. Of course (thought I) folks who display masterful grasp of last century adland would prove equally conversant with present-day marketing opps.

But, alas, I was wrong. I woke up this morning to a post from Alan Wolk reporting that most Twittering Mad accounts have been suspended. Why? No official word yet, but MG Siegler writing for VentureBeat reports that AMC invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to convince Twitter’s support team to suspend the accounts. (As of this posting, you can still tweet @Betty_Draper--perhaps, in keeping with sexist attitudes of the era, execs at AMC don't consider her a threat?)

I'm a content provider myself, so I understand how producers could be ruffled by others co-opting the characters they've worked hard to create. But rather than acting impetuously, hostiley, stupidly shutting down a growing opportunity to extend its fan base, shouldn't someone in marketing recognize the potential and put itinerant Mad Twitterers on the payroll, or sustain the effort in-house? Surely Don Draper would get it, if he was around. Despite the fact that, as devoted fans know, he'll be turning 79 on September 25.

Good news for some, annoying news for others: Nudged by Deep Focus, AMC's digital agency of record, Man Men's' Twitter accounts have been reinstated and the cast has resumed tweets.


Anonymous said...

i dunno. just seems like an abuse of twitter—integrating advertising in the guise of content.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

But that was the beauty of it, anonymous. No adspeak, no schedules, no AMC promos. Just in-character tweets that continued the story, adding dimension to episodes.

Anonymous said...

which is essentially advertising for the shitty show. it's no different than the annoying pre-commercial factoids to set up the breaks. it's also an attempt by the twitter twits to generate revenue with their service. sounds like thinly-veiled spam. what's next—tweets from captain morgan or BK's king?

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Sorry, Anonymous, our views could not be more divergent. But how are the "twitter twits" generating revenue? (Answer that quesion--how to monetize twitter--and you won;t be an ad grunt much longer, I think) Tweets from Captn Morgan or BKing would NOT be the same because they're not players in a story I look forward to each week. What made the MM Twitter thing work so well for me was how they interacted with each other (not just fan followers) in ways that forwarded the plot, helped develop the story. But if it's not a story you're interested in following (how can this be???) I can see how their presence on Twitter would be annoying.

Anonymous said...

bingo. the shit is annoying. and it was later revealed to be the work of people not even associated with the show. if they had been, it's definitely advertising. now that it's regular joes and janes, i just think they're pathetic. what next? desperate housewives? trekkies?

shaun. said...

(because who isn't a fictional character in cyberspace)

*this is true.

Anonymous said...

@anon-Too late. Trekkies have the Comic-Con feed.

Amy Flanagan said...

I love it! It's like a great drama suddenly infused with reality television suspense. I think it's cool.

I love your site, ad broad!


Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@shaun. Funny. I was convinced that YOU were admirably real.

@mtlb-Interesting. Of course superheroes would be ahead of our times.

@amy--welcome! Thanks for the read and kind words.