The 4th season opener of the AMC show Mad Men aired last night, and in it, the main character Don Draper had an interview with a reporter from Ad Age. While the show is clearly fictional and takes place in the 60s, it seems that Ad Age has taken some issue with how it was represented as a publication.
Rance Crain has posted a spiel about what the show failed to get right (in Ad Age’s eyes), and how it really was back then:
What’s wrong with this picture? No. 1, we never did interviews over lunch; No. 2, we didn’t take notes in shorthand; No. 3 we didn’t ask cute-ass questions; and No. 4, our pictures were never bigger than our stories.
So what was it really like being a reporter for Ad Age in 1964?
I was a member of the Ad Age editorial staff in Washington, New York and Chicago in the ’60s and, heaven help us, we would knock down walls to be the first to report a big account change, major product introduction or agency startup…
It continues for about ten more paragraphs. The article is met with numerous comments from readers, including some sarcastic ones. For example, one person says, "This is saying a story-telling medium (television) about a story-telling medium (advertising) might not be ‘authentically’ accurate. I am shocked. SHOCKED!"
While most viewers probably don’t look to Mad Men for historical facts, it’s understandable that Ad Age would want to make sure it is defending its reputation, particularly given the industry that the publication resides in. The critically acclaimed show does get a great deal of media attention.
Interestingly, Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter says the show is "hardly a hit on Madison Avenue".
"Despite all the attention and the show’s affluent viewership, ‘Mad Men’ has averaged far fewer viewers than other summer cable dramas like USA’s ‘Burn Notice,’ and ad rates also are lower," he writes. "An average 30-second spot on first-run episodes of ‘Mad Men’ fetches about $20,000-$25,000, according to a recent trade media report — not much, but it is a multiple of AMC’s primetime movies."
Google is currently touting Mad Men as a great way to target viewers through Google TV Ads. Last night’s episode ran only limited commercial interruption from BMW.