What would Don Draper do?

As Season 4 of Mad Men gets ready to premiere on US tv later this month, the anarchic buzz that shot through the advertising industry of the 1960s doesn’t feel so far from removed from what is going on today, in 2010.

Last week Old Spice broke new ground with a tweet-led-real-time-viral-film-production campaign. Brands and agencies worldwide watched open-mouthed as the runt of the male scent litter became the most talked about brand across platforms, while Wieden+Kennedy became the hottest guys on the block overnight. Wieden+Kennedy saw a golden moment – a universal adoration for the man your man could smell like – and elevated it using the real-time efficiency of Twitter and the power of ad hoc film making.

Not for a while had a serendipitous opportunity been so confidently capitalized upon simply for the pure enjoyment of an audience. What this campaign proved once and for all, was that the CEO’s who sit in their corner offices proclaiming “social media’s all well and good (for the kids) but where are the figures?” have their days numbered. Like the VW ‘Lemon’ campaign of the 1960s, today’s market are looking for something that cuts through the noise – the Buy one get one free/click to sign up to our newsletter/”Inspired by the science of genes” onslaught that dominates our world. The audience of 2010 want to be engaged, talked to and, above all, listened to.

The Old Spice campaign also launched in the same week Double Rainbow went global. A crazy guy enjoying the beauties of mother nature caught the collective imagination and sparked a multitude of parodies, songs and spin offs. It seems that the consuming public are hungry for examples of organic, heart-felt responses to the world. Reactions that are timely and real. Billboards, TVCs and print advertising are just too slow and steady for today’s fast moving world. And so we must ask, what would today’s Don Draper do? If he’s living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one. It’s because it’s what’s happening right now, in this instant, that we must focus on and respond to.

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