Mad Men on Twitter
Tuesday afternoon Helen Klein Ross of Supporting Characters, Michael Bissell president of Conquent and Carri Bugbee president of Big Deal PR, had a confession to make- they have not exactly been completely honest with everyone. In particular, Betty Drapper is not Betty Drapper, she is Helen Ross. Roger Sterling is not Roger Sterling, he is Michael Bissell. And Peggy Olson is not Peggy Olson, she is Carri Bugbee. Twitter-ly speaking, that is.
The panelists plus a few others, have been participating in a term Ross coined as, “brand fiction.”
How did it begin?
“Man Men on Twitter came about completely by happenstance,” said Bugbee. She said she saw Don Drapper was Tweeting and loved the idea and immediately started Tweeting as @PeggOlson. She called up Bissell and he quickly grabbed @Roger_Sterling.
“Within a couple of hours I had about 160 folowers, and I thought ‘wow people really seem to be into this’ and I thought, ‘OK I should take this very seriously, it could be a very interesting case study,’ so I should treat it like a job,” Bugbee said.
“It was really kind of blowing up in the Twittersphere,” Bugbee said, and she decided to keep her project a secret.
About 6 days later, she found her account had been suspended for suspicious activity. There was a digital media copywright infringement. The next day tons of blogs and news stories were published about the characters being taken down, and several of the remaining characters were being contacted by the press. Then the next day they let the characters go back up.
Ross started by being followed by Peggy and Don.
“I was as shocked as anyone else when the blogs went down,” said Ross. She said when they went back up she got on and looked for any remaining characters. She began as Francine and tweeted Betty and when Betty let her know she wasn’t playing, she became @bettydraper, and then picked up a few of the other neighborhood characters in order to organize drama and events within Twitter.
Why did it work?
Ross explained, “We revealed their mundane daily activities” exactly what Twitter is for.
“The takedown was phenomenal press,” said Bissell.
“All of us have strived to remain parallel to Matt Wiener’s universe,” said Ross. “I have a whole 1960’s library full of cook books and Betty crocker.”
Bissell said he has truly enjoyed playing @Roger_Sterling. “He gets to make all the little quips that fit beautifully in 140 characters,” he said.
Bissell confessed he had to create a split reality to embrace the “maleness” of Roger Sterling and remarked at how lucky it is that Twitter is so transitory and how quickly people forget when you slip up. Bissell learned quickly that Long Island Ice Tea wasn’t created until the 1970s.
Why does this matter?
Traditionally, people want to be entertained and it has been a “I create content, you watch them” contract.
Ross claims that things have changed.
“Not only do we watch a show, we expect to have some kind of active participation in it,” she said. “Entertainment is changing, advertising has to acknowledge this.”
Ross said that advertising should be measuring “Not only impressions, but expressions” and defines this as fan interaction with the show.
“Advertisers are being forced to work for an invitation into peoples homes,” she said and this is a way of “extending the brand across platforms.”
They like to think that Mad Men on Twitter is pushing beyond advertising.
“It’s not just fan fiction, it’s brand fiction,” said Ross.
Bissell focused on the tracking side of the project.
“Traditional advertising is built on trackable statistics,” and its hard to do that with Twitter said Bissell.