Brand spotting in Mad Men: Public Relations (S04E01)
The highly anticipated opening episode of Mad Men's fourth season has included some visual and spoken product placement. Nevertheless it's the show about advertising, so that's quite normal. On the other hand writer Matthew Weiner had to replicate the spirit and the looks of the 60's and that include brands and ads.
In upcoming weeks and months I'll try to capture as many brands and placements from the show as possible, but without revealing much of the plot.
Brands in the episode Public Relations can be divided in three groups:
1. Let's check the drinks group.
The bottle of Canadian Club whisky can be spotted in several scenes: in Don's office and in his apartment. I suppose that Canadian Club is now his favourite drink – he is/was a fan of Old Fashioned cocktail, but in the that episode he hasn't really had a chance to drink it.
One of the surprises from this episode was seeing Peggy drinking whisky in the office. Her choice: Jameson.
2. The Public Relations episode contains one magazine and one newspaper.
3. There were also three placements from the 'clients' group.
The first placement was Sugarberry ham. From the info I've managed to check this is a fake product and the placement could be described as product displacement. You can read more about that phenomenon at Gladys Santiago's blog on product displacement.
One of Don's successes was the TV commercial for Glo-Coat, self-polishing floor wax produced by Johnson Wax (now S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.).
One of the main sub-plots of that episode was Don's dealings with the bathing suit company Jantzen: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was in a pitch with Jantzen, which was portrayed as a conservative family-owned company (Don even called them ‘prude’). Here’s his idea for a Jantzen ad.
As I expected the season opener was full of brands, from subtle positioning (e.g. Jameson) to the full use of TV media (e.g. Jantzen). The Jantzen product placement was the most interesing one. If it was agreed placement I would expect another Jantzen's appearance – even though it will take superhuman efforts from Pete to get people from Jantzen back to the SCDP office.
Two additional thoughts from the show:
Don told the taxi driver to drive him home, to Waverly and 6th Avenue. Here's the map:
Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce's new office is in the Time&Life builing at 1271 6th Avenue (at West 50th Street):