Just how upsetting is TV’s Mad Men billboard advertisement announcing its new season? One advertisement is currently plastered high on a site on West 30th street in Manhattan. A tiny figure (we assume iconic Don Draper) is shown plummeting through the air with the show’s season start date appearing at the bottom of the poster.
The poster has generated unwanted headlines, as it is accused of reminding some New Yorkers of 9/11 and the sight of bodies falling out of the sky. A sister of a firefighter who lost his life on the day, told the NYTimes the advertisement demonstrates that “Hollywood and advertising don’t care about the sensitivities of New Yorkers” while a man who lost his daughter says it “definitely evokes the memory of 9/11.”
AMC the network on which Mad Men appears, responded emphatically that the marketing image has been used “repeatedly since 2007, and bears no relation to 9/11″.
The PR Verdict: “C” for AMC PR and the media buyer who came up with this placement. Isn’t this reaction entirely unsurprising?
AMC’s PR gave the NYTimes a full statement reiterating that the 2007 image is a metaphor for a man whose life is in turmoil and in no way references actual events. Good point and clearly made. But what is the harm in going a little further and offering to replace the campaign advertisement on 30th street with another, to avoid any misunderstanding? Take it off tall buildings in NYC and save the image for print ads.
What’s your PR Verdict for AMC PR and its media buyer?