Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Here’s an interesting article in Media Magazine on the phenomenon of the Baby Boomer. Not the Baby Boom, mind you, but Boomers; the people as an identifiable market, rather than just a statistical fact.

The article starts by talking about The Wheel, where Pete sees a future in products like Clearasil, because “there’s a surge in adolescence.” (It might also have mentioned the Elvis doesn’t wear a hat thing, but the Clearasil quote is better).

Our Mad Men guys were in the process of discovering the changing demographics of their world, which would develop into the notion of studying demographics as a way of focusing the market. Most articles about MM talk about how sex roles, clothing, social mores, and more are about to be transformed by the 1960s. But advertising itself also changed dramatically, as suggested in Marriage of Figaro, when the guys are looking at the Volkswagen ad; a brand new kind of advertisement, and by The Wheel, when Pete points out that a “surge in adolescence” has impact on the kind of products that sell.

Maybe some of you know about the famous write-in campaign to save Star Trek (the original). This was in 1968. What’s important about this is that the television networks weren’t studying demographics. They knew the show wasn’t popular, and didn’t know that the show was wildly popular among young males. Write-in campaigns are much less likely to succeed nowadays, precisely because the networks learned their lesson; they already know who’s watching.

The point is, demographic marketing wasn’t yet in its infancy; Pete Campbell’s statement is something like an embryo.

The Media Magazine article concludes with the fact that a woman named Florence Skelly, co-founder of the consumer research firm Yankelovich, coined the term “Baby Boomer” in the late 1960s.

Boston Globe:

The best surprise of the year was “Mad Men,” a 1960 period piece created by “Sopranos” alum Matthew Weiner. Hidden away on AMC, this new drama about a crew of hard-selling Madison Avenue ad men was exquisitely designed, but more importantly, exquisitely told. The stories of these hollow men and frustrated wives and secretaries were fascinating, emblematic, and, finally, moving. As Don Draper, on the run from past shame, Jon Hamm was a brilliant lead. He was ice cold and yet, secretly, burning up. Like FX’s entertaining “The Riches,” about a family of con artists in suburbia, “Mad Men” took on the American Dream in all its fraudulence and materialism.

The North County Times (Sand Diego and Riverside, CA):

Summertime and the television is great: “The Closer,” “Damages,” “Rescue Me, “Mad Men.” Who needs the network or new fall shows when cable aired the best television during the dog days of summer…Shows not to miss in 2007 were on cable: “The Sopranos,” on HBO and… the premiere seasons of “Mad Men” (AMC) and “The Riches” (FX) gave us something to look forward to in the new year.

The Raleigh, North Carolina News and Observer surveyed readers for favorite shows of the year; Mad Men tied for fifth.

New York Newsday points out that broadcast networks have the cheese while cable has the class acts, a reversal of traditional views of television:

Even AMC and Sci Fi are doing it. When it came to water-cooler series in 2007, people were talking about “Mad Men” (AMC), “Damages” (FX), “Dexter” (Showtime) and “The Closer” (TNT).