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Monday, August 17, 2021

that's the spirit
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 Skurikhin, a partner at SPI Group, which owns the Stoli brand, said that he didn’t pay for placement. Skurikhin said ["Mad Men" network home] AMC contacted him and, he, being a fan of the show, gladly acquiesced, even producing a bottle from 1963 to conform to the show’s historical accuracy. But was Stoli even available in the U.S. at that time? Not widely, Skurikhin said, but it’s plausible that the high rollers at Sterling Cooper might have been able to access a bottle.

Like I said in my previous post, I don’t have a problem with this premise, because I think it does preserve the authenticity of the storyline. Do I believe Stoli really didn’t pay for this placement? Maybe, maybe not. It could be that the creative folks had that brand in mind, and didn’t want to start a bidding war between Stoli, Smirnoff, and any other historically-eligible Eastern European vodkas. Or maybe AMC will make up the value given to Stoli by hitting them, or other liquor brands, with desirable ad rates for commercial time in later seasons.

There’s no way of telling, other than taking everyone at their words. And that cloak of secrecy is intentional:

When asked whether other brands mentioned on the show on previous seasons like Utz and Cadillac were paid placements, AMC president and general manager Charlie Collier was coy: “We absolutely have product integration on the show, but you shouldn’t know which ones are paid and which ones aren’t.”

Perception is critical. If everyone starts talking about which props are paid-for, that will color the perception of the show, fairly or not. It underlines how much product-placement is still considered a less-than-honorable advertising practice.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/17/2009 08:07pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food, TV
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3 Feedbacks »
  1. If an older brand really wants to impress me, it’ll run it’s original un-edited commercials from that era.

    The first one to do so will stand-out so much that all the datedness associated with the spot won’t be seen as a negative.

    Comment by David — 08/17/2009 @ 11:40 PM

  2. That sounds familiar… Didn’t some show, network, etc. do that, show vintage commercials in conjunction with some sort of nostalgia/retrospective programming? Sometime this decade? I’d research but don’t feel like it at the moment…

    Comment by CT — 08/18/2009 @ 9:36 AM

  3. MLB Network did it with a rebroadcast of Larsen’s perfect game (along with interviews). It was great, and I think small enough that almost no one would say “they just did that.”

    If someone else did it, I can’t recall immediately, and that’s probably another good reason to go ahead and do it here.

    Comment by David — 08/18/2009 @ 10:58 AM

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