02 September, 2008

Mad Men's Twittergate

I got to thinking recently. For the good of mankind, this doesn't happen often.

It was about AMC's short-lived (and short-sighted) temper tantrum over the Twitter accounts that popped up featuring characters from Mad Men. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, stop reading now and click on this video of a guy falling off a ladder; you'll enjoy it more.

So, I was thinking. This could be one of the first bonafide shots across the bow of that recently launched little sailboat we like to call social media. While no one can honestly say where it's headed, we can be sure it'll sink a lot of brands if they continue to approach it like a guy playing the piano wearing catcher's mitts.

Don't get me wrong. Twitter isn't the Second Coming. Hell, 90% of the people I've spoken to have never heard of it. But it's an important piece of brand conversation, and more importantly, it's a perfect platform for consumer evangelism. With Mad Men, you've got fans so rabid for the franchise that they're willing to spend time talking about it, immersing themselves in it. So naturally, you do the logical thing: sic the lawyers on 'em (well, on Twitter anyway).

It's sad and absurd. So many brands still can't grasp the notion that, to bring in the ever-evolving consumer, they have to let the consumer take over the conversation now and then. Let out the trot line a little. Take a risk.

Part of forging any lasting relationship is conceding some control.

It's about trust. It's about caring as much about a customer's satisfaction as they do about their money. And it's what will separate their business model from that of prostitutes and pyramid schemes. Because, you know, they have business models, too.

Speaking of Mad Men: The Real (Lame-o) Sterling-Cooper; Don Draper gets me hot and bothered; Mad, black, and not gonna take it anymore.

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