'Mad Men' billboard evokes images of 9/11 critics say

Paula Duffy's picture

"Mad Men" season five kicks off on March 25 and the outdoor ads teasing the show are causing controversy in N.Y. because they depict an unidentified man falling to earth from great heights.

The 9/11 comparison was made by some when "Mad Men" billboards and outside ads were placed around town. They trumpet the return of the show that missed an entire season on the air, due to a standoff between its creator and AMC who broadcasts it.

Fans of Mad Men are familiar with the black and white image of a man in a dark business suit tumbling to earth with a Manhattan skyscraper as backdrop. It accompanies the opening credits for the four-time Emmy Award winner for best drama.

The latest outdoor ads, plastered on the sides of New York City buildings don't use the skyscraper backdrop and depict a stark white background with a man in a black suit falling to an unknown fate.

Advertising Age reported that New York City residents said it is too reminiscent of workers in the World Trade Center who fell or jumped to their deaths as the towers burned.

The outcry is being attributed to people who aren't familiar with the show or its imagery, but the N.Y. Times story said more is at play. Even those who know of the series were struck by how much the building sides/billboards conjure up the image of 9/11.

The folks at AMC deny any connection or intent to connect the show with the tragedy in Manhattan and told the Times. "The image of Don Draper tumbling through space has been used since the show began in 2007 to represent a man whose life is in turmoil."

The new season of Mad Men has sparked product tie-ins as well as the creation of a special edition of "Newsweek" magazine. The Tina Brown helmed magazine will feature the show on the cover, with a full story inside. It will also have a look that will remind Baby Boomers of the days when news magazine pages were streamlined, without the graphics and bold typeface of today. Read: Mad Men returns, the Sixties revisited.

At Banana Republic retail stores shoppers will find both men's and women's clothing lines inspired by the styles worn on the television show and that were popular in the decade of the '60s.

Shirtwaist dresses, cardigan sweaters over pencil slim skirts and straight-leg ankle pants dominate the collection for the ladies. While male shoppers will find fitted polo shirts paired with slim seersucker pants and light-colored suits, tailored to fit like Don Draper’s, along with skinny ties and three-button suit jackets. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/JRibaX

Add new comment