It still amazes me how old school thinking (mainly about copyright) still interferes with the ability to allow fans to advertise for you. The most powerful and cost-effective form of advertising on the Internet today is user generated marketing. Anytime you can get — or in this case allow – users to market your services for you, you’ve hit paydirt.
AMC had the fortune of having fans create Twitter accounts that mimic the characters on their show Mad Men (which is one of the best dramas on television right now). Accounts were created for characters like Don Draper and Peggy Olsen. At first, I thought it was the result of a simple, but brilliant campaign by AMC. However, I later found out that AMC was not behind it and demanded it be taken down (dumb if true). After an outcry and I’m sure many emails and calls to AMC, they told Twitter that the fans could continue using the accounts. Apparently, somebody came to their senses.
I’m still not convinced that AMC wasn’t behind this. It reeks of a smart campaign, and if I had been behind it, I would have had the protest from the organization as a part of my plan. The idea that the studio wasn’t behind it, and that they tried to shut it down, would have created enough intrigue and attention to make it even bigger than what it was — which is exactly what happened in this case. I don’t think it’s conspiracy theorist stuff, it’s just good marketing.
What makes this such a good idea, beyond the affordability of the campaign, is that it taps into a part of the psyche that wants these characters to be real — to exist truly in our time, using Twitter (of all things). It extends the complex characters of Mad Men and reenforces their existence away from the one hour show that only shows once a week. Sure, it’s not real, but it’s fun to pretend it is.