Mad Men and the BMW Opportunists

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August 3rd, 2008

I just watched the second episode of season two of Mad Men.  I continue to be completely reeled in and did something I rarely do when it comes to something other than sporting events: I watched it live as it aired.  No time shifting at all.  One nice benefit is that my HD feed for AMC is the feed for the eastern time zone, so I can watch Mad Men at 7pm.  I wasn't disappointed.

I was wrong last week when I said that perhaps ratings for this show don't really matter much since apparently BMW was sponsoring it.  While it's true that the entire first season of the show available via On-Demand ran with limited interruptions thanks to BMW, and the same held true for the premiere of season two, tonight had a few regular advertising pods. 

The show is obviously targeting wealthy people older than the age of 34 and while season one seems to be sponsored by BMW via On-Demand, the On-Demand episode of the premiere of season two was sponsored by Viagra.  BMW did advertise in tonight's airing and I thought one of the ads almost diabolical.

One of the great things about Mad Men is that if you're any kind of wannabe cultural sociologist, the show paints a pretty fair (in my estimation) picture of how far we've come in the last 50 or so year, and how far we have to go.  The first BMW commercial that ran was for the new V-8 with more horsepower and RPM.   It seemed a bit opportunistic to me.  They have you there in that 60s frame of mind, a time when oil and gas were cheap and seemed to flow freely.  But it's 2008 now. 

Personally I have viewed most of the "green" initiatives as very well-planned marketing and advertising aimed at getting us to spend more money and (and this is important) feel better about ourselves without really accomplishing anything.  I'm for, as my brother likes to say "real conservation".  But real conservation involves using less of everything and keeping stuff until it's no longer usable rather than tossing it aside due to style. 

On the other hand the BMW ad seemed just perfect for the show.  A lot of people still want powerful sports cars, conservation or not.  I think one of the things Mad Men is trying to show us is that although a lot of things have changed in the last 50 years, some of the change is purely superficial.  Then, as now, it's all about the money.  If you'll buy it, they'll sell it.

I'm not really sure what to think about BMW, but either way, Mad Men is my favorite show right now.  I guess so long as people are buying gas guzzlers, BMW will sell them (sure, they'll talk about all the efficiency improvements when it comes to gas consumption, but c'mon...).  But if all that's going on anyway, it might as well go on to pay for my favorite show.  While I'm all for conservation, it's not like I'm going to boycott the show.  I may however switch to On-Demand only viewing and roll the dice that it will be a Viagra ad.

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