- Mad Men Season Three Ad Campaign Pitch
This spring I had the opportunity to work with New York creative agency Plus, when they were asked to present a variety of advertising directions for the third season of Mad Men.
All of us big fans of the series, we had a lot of fun exploring the themes of the show and the traits of each character as we worked to infuse the drama, sex and incredible 60's fashion that makes Mad Men so amazing into each direction we pitched.
Below are a few of the concepts presented to AMC for the campaign:
DIRECTION 1 - FREEFALL:
This concept is inspired by show packaging which depicts an anonymous suit falling through glass and steel canyons of advertising…
The cast is captured fully airborne, caught in a moment of suspended animation as they plummet towards earth, subject to invisible forces they cannot escape. They are seen twisting and twirling through the air, nearly intertwined but just out of reach. Period dresses and ties twirl in the wind as they’re swept away. The state of free fall reflects the imminent change in the wind. Everything is spinning out of control.
This a strong, simple theme for both ensemble and character portraits which focuses centrally on the actors. In lieu of detailed environments – the glamor and zeitgeist of the Sixties is still powerfully evident in personal fashion and style. Relationships and story references are exhibited through the positions and emotions of the cast.
Print Campaign mock ups:
On Air Promo directions:
VO: ONCE YOU HAVE CROSSED OVER THE EDGE...
Clips of the most shocking clips from Season 2, scenes that illustrate the characters going one step too far. Don cheating on Betty with Bobby, Betty cheating on Don, Sterling in bed with the secretary, Peggy with the baby,
WHAT CAN YOU HOLD ON TO?
Characters seen in the aftermath, Betty drunkenly wandering around the house, Don looking pensive in his hotel room, end with Pete in the chair, holding the rifle.
THIS SEASON ON MAD MEN...
THERE’S NO TURNING BACK.
In quick succession we see close up shots of each of the six main characters looking into the distance followed by dramatic clips from Season three which act as teasers.
Fade to black.
Tagline is seen graphically...
THE WORLDS GONE MAD
MADMEN SEASON 3
Freefall Option 2 -
VO DON: “I HAVE BEEN WATCHING MY LIFE. IT’S RIGHT THERE.
I KEEP SCRATCHING AT IT, TRYING TO GET INTO IT. I CAN’T.”
Clip of Don looking at his kids and Betty from afar, Don at work, not participating in conversation
THIS SEASON ON MAD MEN, THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE AIR.
Teaser clips of scandalous action from Season Three
CHANGE IS COMING...
Quick reaction shots of each of the six characters looking into the distance as if something is coming for them.
AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.
Clips from Season Three of characters being emotional, crying, yelling, looking shocked.
THE WORLDS GONE MAD
SEASON THREE STARTS IN JULY.
DIRECTION 2 - LIVING DANGEROUSLY
Here we find the cast of Mad Men living like theres no tomorrow. The main characters are seen having a debauched cocktail party on the ledge of a building, letting it all go, seemingly unaware of the consequences. They are seen literally partying on the edge of oblivion, a reflection of the lifestyles they lead in the show and also a mirror of the events leading up to our own era.
This is a way to exhibit the cast as an ensemble, and also to convey the balance between drama and flat out hedonism the show brings to life. We see the cast drinking, dancing, flirting at a high energy, glamorous bash that's just moments away from going over the edge. The secretaries are doing the twist, people are hanging out of the windows and climbing over one another as the party gets out of control. The combination of danger, sexiness and energy makes this direction eye catching and compelling.
DIRECTION 3 - SCANDALOUS SHINDIG
This campaign is built around ensemble settings which, on the surface, evoke an idealized image of a wholesome, sophisticated 60’s social gathering – the cast of Mad Men are at a penthouse party, or a picnic in Central Park. On closer inspection, it becomes obvious that all sorts of sexy signals are being exchanged. Reframing and close-ups guide our eyes toward details that weren’t immediately obvious
Examples: Peggy’s hand on the neck of the Priest’s guitar, Joan bending over to pick something up off the ground in front of Sterling, who is obviously ogling her, etc…
This direction focuses on multi layered portrayal of the early 60s seen on Mad Men and in pop culture. On the surface, everything is picture perfect, but scandal and misbehavior is lurking just beneath.
Print campaign mock ups -