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To me it is a whole other subject that I don’t feel I have the resources (or research skills) to explore… the relationship between Mad Men and its sponsors. Those little advertising tids offered both historical advertising leaps as embellishment to the show, and, clearly, were their own innovative advertisements.

(These were included as part of the commercial breaks during the premier run of the first season. AMC isn’t using them in the repeats, because they are stupidhead dumbasses.)

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What I want to know more about is what is and isn’t factual (some I get, some I don’t. I wasn’t familiar with the apparently legendary It’s Toasted, for example). They are obviously intermingling real brands and real campaigns with fictional. How are those decisions being made? Are they attempting, with each mention, to get buy-in from a real name, with fiction always being their second-line? Did Wrigley’s refuse them the rights to write in their Doublemint Twins in Long Weekend (episode 10)?

Years ago you never saw a real brand onscreen, neither in film nor on tv. People would ask for “cola” and labels were obscured. Then product placement started rearing its ugly head. Only here’s the thing… it wasn’t ugly. We love our products. Love our brands. We love familiarity. One famous example of product placement was in Good Will Hunting when Ben Affleck would show up with two hot coffees from Dunkin Donuts. I remember finding that delightful, rather than feeling raped by advertising executives. What I learned later was that there were agencies (or at least teams within agencies) dedicated to finding places within movies for their products. So understand this… the scenario was not: Affleck was showing up with two nameless cups of coffee, and somehow that got sold to DD. Rather, someone pitched the whole thing… Hey, wouldn’t it be great if these two guys had a little coffee routine, sponsored by us, Dunkin Donuts? And the scenes were incorporated into the film.

So I’m interested in how this is all working, who is paying for what. Beyond just when are they being historically accurate and when they’re not. Which is always cool about any historical drama. You know, Titanic had Rose and Jack, and Molly Brown and the Astors.

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