Pity the poor advertising industry. In the era of DVRs and time-shifted viewing, it has to be almost impossible to get viewers to lay off the fast-forward button long enough to sit through a commercial.
But if there’s one show that can buck that trend, it’s “Mad Men.” Viewers of AMC’s highly rated period drama spend hours watching Don Draper, Peggy Olson and the other characters pull all-nighters in the hopes of coming up with genius creative. If nothing else, the show gives outsiders a chance to appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears that go into great advertisements -- and that just might give us pause to think twice before we skip those commercials.
That said, it’s no wonder that advertisers are capitalizing on a show that does such a great job at making their industry look glamorous. It was two years ago that John Slattery, who portrays the silver-haired Roger Sterling, became a pitchman for Lincoln, a division of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F). On Sunday, Lincoln ran “Mad Men”-inspired commercials featuring vintage Lincoln models during the two-hour premiere of the show’s sixth season. Slattery’s character, meanwhile, featured prominently in the episode, rambling through a subplot that finds Sterling emotionally numb after his elderly mother passes away.
And Lincoln isn’t the only advertiser getting in on the act. Last year, Johnnie Walker, the Scotch whiskey owned by Diageo PLC (NYSE:DEO), recruited Christina Hendricks, who plays the voluptuous ginger Joan Holloway, to pitch for the brand. Sunday’s premiere featured a spot in which a modernized -- but no less seductive -- Hendricks pours a shot of Johnnie Walker Red Label.
So what made Hendricks decide to shill for JW? Although some viewers of Sunday’s premiere griped that she received more screen time in the commercial than she did during the show, the actress claims to be a serious Scotch whiskey aficionado, at least according to a Q&A with Hendricks on the Johnnie Walker website.
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“My husband enjoys whisky and I thought it was sexy when he ordered it,” Hendricks says in the Q&A. “There’s just something different about whisky, especially Scotch -- the color, the aroma, it's really alluring. I’d take sips of his and started to like it. It's something you linger over, it's not something that gets rushed.”
While Hendricks’ first-person endorsement might seem like a carefully crafted piece of advertising copy, it appears to be working on some viewers, as evidenced by the following tweet:
Ok Johnnie Walker if it makes me more attractive to Christina Hendricks I'm in. #truthinadvertising
â€” paul germain (@germain_paul) April 8, 2013
There you have it. And if you still need convincing, check out one of Johnnie Walker’s Christina Hendricks spots below.