By Cary Hatch [MDB CEO]
[MAD MEN Promo Graphic ©2012 AMC]
Original article written for Capital Communicator
Like many in the advertising field (and much of America), I was tuned into the Season 5 premiere of MAD MEN Sunday night. Even above the noise of the debuting Hunger Games, MAD MEN still seems to “have it” when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of a legion of fans. After a 17-month hiatus, the heralded series roared back with all the boozing, womanizing and beautiful cinematography we’ve come to know and love.
There are notable changes in tone and it jumps ahead in time, which are seductively engaging and at times confounding. Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has risen above losing the Lucky Strike account and Pete Campbell and Joan Holloway have new bundles of joy respectively. While Don Draper has a new wife (his 3rd no less) who took us all by surprise by singing a sexy rendition of the French pop tune, “Zou Bisou Bisou” to her husband for his surprise 40th birthday. Being the ever-smart marketers, MAD MEN quickly released a single of the track, recorded by Gillian Hills in 1961. This has led to viewers recreating their own versions and sending around a YouTube video of the sultry song and by Monday morning, "Zou Bisou Bisou" was trending on Twitter.
While some found the Season 5 premiere “awkward and slow”, die-hard fans were delighted to get their long awaited dose of flashbacks, with all the realism of the trials and tribulations of the 60’s – the Vietnam War, racism, sexism and questionable morality. Yet, the premiere drew the most viewers ever for the show, with 3.5 million – roughly 600,000 more viewers than the Season 4 premiere that marked under 3 million. The Sunday episode was the most watched ever for the AMC series.
As critic Hank Steuver of The Washington Post admits, “The show exasperates me, even bores me sometimes, and yet it is always difficult to look away. It’s my least favorite TV series that I never miss an episode of.” It’s my bet that plenty of folks will continue to tune in, DVR and stream episodes for months to come.