Mad Men’s Online Lesson: Poke Fun At Yourself

This fall, Mad Men relaunched to a flurry of positive press. Even Frank Rich found a way to work it into his usual, scalding column for the New York Times. The resounding refrain is that Mad Men has more social relevance and more cultural clout than it does viewers. Okay fine, if you’re not trying to sell advertising. If you are…and they are!…then you need to expand your audience. So what’s a brand to do? Build out it’s digital footprint, that’s what. Especially if the show edges toward cult status, has a rigid leading man, dramatic undertones, and a pre-1968 script as Mad Men does. The conversational possibilities with social media dimensionalize the show’s content.

Mad Men is winning on the Web because it refuses to take itself too seriously. It was one of the first TV shows to set up Twitter accounts for it’s main characters. By assuming a tongue-in cheek attitude, Mad Men swings open the door for peeps to pile in. Take it’s new avatar app. I did. See.

Many traditional brands can learn a lesson from Mad Men’s joie de vivre attitude. If you want to:
• engage an audience
• get people to participate
• help people express themselves

Then you must accept the mess that follows. Why not design for it? By embracing a devil-may-care attitude online a brand can have more fun–throw a party, even. Martini anyone?

Hat tip Marci Alboher.