Chevrolet brought some more attention to its role in “Mad Men” on Twitter after last night’s episode.
AMC’s television drama “Mad Men” follows a fictional New York advertising agency in the late 1960s, which currently is working on a campaign for the Chevrolet Vega.
Chevy sent two tweets last night about the show, although the automaker has no official link or partnership with “Mad Men.” Last night was Chevy’s first official involvement with the show.
Chevrolet first tweeted asking fans to speculate what founding partner Don Draper will create for the Chevy ad.
“Do you have any idea what the idea is?” the automaker tweeted last night, echoing one character’s line.
As Draper and his team are coming up with ideas for the ad, Chevy asked “Mad Men” fans to come up with ideas of their own. Chevy is selecting some of the ideas and turning them into an advertisement for the Vega, which will be shared on social media.
Chevy then said, “Thanks for satisfying our advertising craving,” in a tweet that included a fan’s advertisement idea that said, “You can ride in many, but only one will satisfy your craving.”
Just for fun
Chevy spokeswoman Cristi Vazquez said the automaker already has received ideas and will be revealing those ads in the next few days.
“We were surprised by the mention, so we wanted to do something to engage our fans,” Vazquez said. “This is just a way for us to have a little fun with it.”
Vazquez said this is a big year for Chevy, with 13 launches in 2013, and hopes being on the show will raise interest in all Chevy vehicles.
William Ward, a social media professor in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, said engaging viewers is a smart strategy to promote the brand.
“'Mad Men' is one of the more actively discussed shows on social TV,” Ward said. “If you’re going to take the time to share ideas of an ad, you are more likely to watch the show and see the product in the show.”
In last night’s episode, called “The Crash,” the agency continues its efforts on the Chevy account, but with little success because their designs keep getting shot down. One character is injured after drunken Chevy executives cause the Impala he is driving them in to crash.
Chevy asks the team to come up with a new idea during the weekend.
This leads members of the firm to take a “vitamin superdose” with the intention of helping their ideas flow.
“Half of this work is gibberish. Chevy is spelled wrong,” one of the partners, Ted Chaough, said after returning on a Monday and finding the work Draper and others did while on drugs.
The team is tasked with promoting the XP-887, which in real life was the code name for what eventually became the Vega.
Draper suggests during the episode a concept similar to Chevy’s 1975 “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet,” ad featuring the Vega.
Although there was much hype for the vehicle during the time “Mad Men” is set, the Vega was not a success after it launched in 1970.
Problems for the Vega included oil-burning, overheating, rust and an underpowered engine. Just more than 1.9 million Vegas were made from 1970 to 1977 in GM’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
Ward said even though the Vega was not a successful car, most viewers will recognize the show is fictional and what happened with the vehicle is in the past.
“I think people recognize that’s long ago and not reflective of a product today,” Ward said. “You could argue that those types of conversations are happening regardless.”
Greg Heath, a vice president at Mark Christopher Auto Center in Ontario, Calif., said he heard about Chevy’s mention in “Mad Men” during a meeting with his advertising department.
Heath said Chevy’s newer models, including the Sonic and Spark EV, attract younger buyers, many of whom are “Mad Men” fans and use social media.
Heath said he plans to watch the show more because of Chevy’s presence in the show.