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Three Conclusions From AMC’s Mad Men/Twitter Flap

November 5th, 2008
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I am a huge fan of the AMC television series Mad Men — a drama about the ad men and women on Madison Avenue in the 1960s. That’s why a blog post about the shutdown of Mad Men Twitter feeds caught my eye.

Apparently, fans were posing as Mad Men characters, creating Twitter profiles for them, and posting regular Twitter posts. (Check out Don Draper’s, Betty Draper’s, Peggy Olsen’s, and Pete Campbell’s Twitter feeds.) AMC asked Twitter to shut down the feeds, which angered fans.

Here’s an excerpt from the Reuters’ article:

“Although anybody can legally pretend to be any made-up character, Twitter could be in violation of AMC’s trademark if its presentation successfully confuses readers as to whether the feeds are endorsed by the network. Still, sources said that AMC still is looking into the matter and noted that some executives at the network recognize the value of the feeds.”

Later, AMC revoked the request, allowing the feeds to continue. I think this leads to some fundamental conclusions about the ways brands should view social media avenues like Twitter.

1. As long as consumers aren’t being profane and inappropriate or otherwise offensive to others and the brand, what can it hurt?

2. Social media avenues work best when minimally policed.

3. It’s free, no effort viral marketing for the brand.

Thanks to David Lidsky, Senior Editor of Fast Company, for blogging about this. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.