Monday, March 21, 2011

Mad Men Mondays: Selling the Lifestyle of Mad Men

"The most brilliant dimension of advertising is that for the most part we who are tremendously affected by it have no sense that we are affected by it." - Dr. Bernard McGrane, Department of Sociology, Chapman University.

After watching Mad Men, I thought about:
Ordering a mai tai (one of Don's mistresses had it).
Drinking tomato juice as a starter a restaurant (Betty had it, no wonder she's so slim!)
Thought all those martinis looked festive and wanted to try one.
Looked up Maidenform bras on their web site (one show was devoted to Maidenform and Platex bras).
Thought the Ritz crackers and Utz potato chips on the top of Don and Betty Draper's refrigerator looked like fun accouterments for all those martinis.
Even thought it was fun when they we're all eating donuts one morning and thought - we should do that at work...gather and eat donuts!
Wanted to watch Bye Bye Birdie (a show centered around the beginning sequence with Ann-Margret).
Looked up Lut├Ęce (now closed) and Sardie's (the former, where they would entertain clients, the latter, where Don took another mistress).

I can't go on anymore, pathetic, I know. I pride myself on being an independent thinker, but even I fall into this glamorization of brands and product placement, which is what everyone at Sterling Cooper is doing in between all that hanky panky and hard liquor drinking.

I'm not alone. Basket of Kisses, an all Mad Men things blog, had a post about finding a coveted Chip and Dip that Pete Campbell returned. Would this be a desired item if not in the show?

Aside from a can of tomato juice that's ended up in my grocery cart, the show has influenced me fashion wise, although even before the show, I always loved vintage looks. Since the show though, I've raided my mother's drawers for vintage clothes and scarves she no longer wears, and have even begun carrying my grandmother's purse. You only have to do a google search of "Mad Men fashion" to know I'm not alone in craving the look. Check out "Will 'Mad Men' get groovy" from the Los Angeles Times which considers how the fashion will change as the times do. From the article,

"For the first time shopping was entertainment. Clothes were cheap and styles turned on a dime — some outfits so ephemeral they were made of paper. It was the forerunner of today's fast fashion." Shopping as entertainment - sound familiar? It's a national pastime.

Mad Men has also solidified that I love more retro looking houses. A pink bathroom love affair has even been rekindled, remember?

As for those martinis, one cocktail is my limit if I had one. Do you think the show glamorizes too much drink and smoking? Being a child of two smokers, I detest smoking, and it's my least favorite part of the show.

Has Mad Men piqued your interest in any brands, films or people? Do you think about how advertising impacts your behavior?


  1. I do this too! Oh hell, we all do it. After a particularly long "As Time Goes By" marathon, I found myself on ebay, looking for bread tins and dishes found in the show. It wasn't even a case of careful product placement--no name brands. Just stuff. Stuff I knew I needed. Sigh.

    I am far too easily influenced by advertising. I have to remind myself to stay ever viligent. I haven't watched Mad Men, but I have no doubt that I would develop a keen interest in stocking my bar if I were to watch it. Even the commercials make me want a nice cocktail!

  2. Hehe, Mad Men does always make me want a drink, and some Utz chips (but that's because I love them anyway, and am really sad that they're nowhere to be found in Kentucky!) But mostly I'm not really influenced by the show's product placement. I do find myself pining for Joan's wardrobe, though. I rarely go shopping for clothes because our budget just isn't all that big but when I do, I ask myself, "Would Joan wear this?" It's actually a helpful tactic for figuring out what looks good on me, since I have a similar body shape.

  3. Although I'm as obsessed as the next person with MM, I can't think of a single item of food or clothing I wanted to emulate.
    What's wrong with me?
    I'm crazy for the inner drives and obsessions of Don et famille. It's their psychology that grabs me and keeps me rivited. Plus the identity issues.
    Could we start an In Treatment Tuesdays?

  4. Aldra – so funny about As Time Goes By. I’m extremely impressionable with food scenes, and I remember a scene when they were having strawberries and cream in their garden and so wanted some too. Even when Richard was having toast on Keeping Up Appearances out of special serving tray, I thought I should have that too!

    Cate- and you have that red hair to match! I colored mine for years red but stopped due to the expense, chemicals and wanted to be my natural color. Sometimes, I miss it. The New York Times talked about the popularity of red hair, and guess who they mentioned?

    "Christina Hendricks, of "Mad Men," who has perhaps done more to reinvigorate the color than anyone else, appears on the November cover of Harper's Bazaar."

    Actually, I bought a white vintage nightgown for $10 via thrift and thought, "This is so Betty Draper!"

    Carol – perhaps you've picked the theme for next week's Mad Men Mondays. ;-) You're eating all of that great French food and seeing all those fabulously dressed French women and men, so I understand!