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Wednesday, August 12, 2021

If you’re a fan of “Mad Men”, then you’re probably a fan of the show’s dedication to historical accuracy in libations:

Liquor is not only an integral part of many plotlines (last season, it played a pivotal role in a car crash, a divorce, a rape and two career implosions), but often a telling sign of character. When it comes to choosing a character’s poison, [show prop master Gay] Perello said, many people have input, starting with the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner: “Matt will say, ‘I want them to have a brown liquor.’ And I’ll go, ‘Let’s do a nonblended Scotch, because this is a person who would appreciate that.’ ”

The cocktail historian David Wondrich, 48, thinks an old-fashioned is a conservative choice for the young [main character Dan] Draper, but considers his preference for Canadian Club “exactly right. We’d had years of destruction of the American whiskey industry up until then. So the Canadian stuff was viewed as being pretty good.”

What this article doesn’t bring up: Such a central role for name-brand alcohol creates the perfect environment for product placement. Liquor companies are known to be especially aggressive in positioning their brands into movies, TV shows, and even songs. So regardless of what the prop master strives for, I’m sure there’s plenty of paid-for insertion of specific Scotch, vodka, gin, and beer bottles in the storylines.

In fact, a plot point from the upcoming Season 3 illustrates a seamless method of selling this, without compromising the authenticity:

This season, Sterling gets his hands on some prized contraband: Soviet-made Stolichnaya (then not available in the United States). His priorities remain solidly in place. “Help yourself,” he tells a colleague. “Not the Stoli.”

I’d bet anything that this bit was written into the show expressly because Stoli paid for it. They’d have to forgo the modern-day logo and design, but that’s insignificant — having the vodka mentioned by name by a popular character on a popular show guarantees mindshare, and sales. The minds at Sterling Cooper couldn’t have cooked up a more effective advertising campaign.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/12/2021 03:26pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food, History, Pop Culture, TV
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1 Feedback »

    I wasn’t the only one who suspected some unreported product-placement going on with “Mad Men”: AdWeek poked around for evidence.
    It found some, specifically regarding Season 3’s unique inclusion of Stolichnaya vodka:
    Andrey Sku…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 08/17/2009 @ 8:07 PM

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