AMC Asks Twitter to Remove 'Mad Men' Accounts


AMC didn't take too kindly to the onslaught of Mad Men characters appearing on Twitter and sent a Digital Millenium Copyright Act take down notice asking Twitter to remove @Don_Draper and @PeggyOlsen. The accounts are currently suspended. There are other accounts on Twitter for the Mad Men characters Roger Sterling, Pete Campbell, Joan Holloway, Paul Kinsey, Sal Romano, Bertram Cooper and Bobbie Barrett. Many are still active though @joan_halloway has recently been suspended as well.

AMC was not behind the appearance of the characters on Twitter but its legal maneuverings may go down as the single worst use (misuse?) of social media. One of the characters, @paul_kinsey, was created by Mario Parise. When he created the account, he immediately contacted AMC to tell them what he was doing and if they had any problem, he'd immediately cancel the account. AMC never contacted him; it chose instead to take the legal route.

All of the characters were welcomed with open arms by Twitter users and they actively engaged each other. No one cared whether or not AMC was behind them. It was irrelevant. Everyone was having fun with people from one of their favorite shows.

Not to be slapped down easily, the person behind the Peggy Olsen character re-created an account using the name @pegy_olsen whop tweeted, "I worked hard. I did my job. But the boys at Twitter are just as churlish as the boys at Sterling Cooper. Such a pity that they're so petty." In truth, it isn't Twitter that's being churlish. Twitter just did what it was legally asked to do.

It's a sticky situation for sure but one of the best ways for a brand to gain footing in social media spaces is to identify already-existing relevant activity or content that can be put to use. Stride Gum did it brilliantly with worldly dancer . They identified his already popular videos and offered to fund and sponsor future videos. The outcome was amazingly successful.

While a company certainly has to clearly state their relationship, if any, with entities purporting to represent the brand in any media, slapping down fervent supporters as opposed to forming a partnership does more harm than good. For AMC, Twitter is (was?) one of the best places in which they could have chosen to participate. Among Twitter users, there is a very high concentration of people who could be dubbed "social media experts" as well as many people who work in marketing and advertising..and who watch Mad Men.

The reaction to the removal of the Twitter users won't be volatile. There won't be any sort of boycott or "We Hate AMC" campaigns but it will leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of Mad Men fans. It may also be categorized as a missed opportunity that could have benefited AMC, rather than make it look like the bad guy.

UPDATE: 8/27/08. AMC called off the legal eagles and has allowed the Twitter profiles to remain.

by Steve Hall    Aug-26-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Social, Worst   

Enjoy what you've read? Subscribe to Adrants Daily and receive the daily contents of this site each day along with free whitepapers.



I can't say I blame AMC for protecting their property. I had a bad experience communicating with the Don Draper character on Twitter, which initially left me (incorrectly) thinking AMC shouldn't be on twitter if they don't know how to communicate positively w/ fans on it and left me with a bad taste in my mouth for the show. I'm thrilled to hear it wasn't AMC behind those tweets, because they were poorly handled - and now I know why.

Posted by: Annie Heckenberger on August 26, 2008 1:18 PM


Posted by: Paul McEnany on August 26, 2008 1:36 PM

@Annie - I'm sorry we failed to live up to your expectations of the characters! Speaking only for myself (@paul_kinsey), I tried my best to keep it authentic and make sure everyone was having a good time. Unfortunately, we can't all be Matt Weiner :)

Posted by: Mario Parise on August 26, 2008 1:37 PM

i guess i'm the only one who saw the madmen tweets as being a silly anachronistic since the show takes place in the 1960s. you know, before computers n' stuff?

however it does make me want to start a twitter account as charles phillip ingalls (micheal landon's character from 'little house on the prairie') tweeting about how laura elizabeth must help milk the cows more.

Posted by: evan on August 26, 2008 1:42 PM

I love Mad Men... but I do wonder, aren't there real people out there with the same names as the characters? If someone suddenly created a TV character with my name, would I suddenly have to relinquish it to the Almighty copyright holder?

Posted by: Paula on August 26, 2008 1:55 PM

Actually, since Twitter provided no explanation for their actions, they were, indeed, being churlish. I took my "job" seriously, so it is disheartening, to say the least, to be tossed out like so much trash, whomever is at the root of it.

Posted by: Peggy Olson on August 26, 2008 4:11 PM

@Mario -- you're right in your blog post -- Mad Men writers taking over the accounts would be the dream solution, although unlikely. Perhaps one day (soon) having a social-network strategy in place will be seen as necessary as a Style Manual for Logo treatment.

Posted by: Marko on August 26, 2008 5:42 PM

I can fully understand AMC wanting to protect their characters and branding. At the same time though, they had social networkers out their promoting their show for free. I have to agree with this article, it's a real missed opportunity for AMC to take advantage of this.

Posted by: Axcel on August 26, 2008 6:25 PM

If the people behind the Mad Men twitter characters want to speak in character so badly, why not take it to fan fiction rather than character-jack the brand on twitter?

Posted by: Annie Heckenberger on August 28, 2008 11:46 AM

Evan; duh. They're running a simple ARG, which requires a bit of suspension of reality. I followed a few of the Mad Men characters and was followed back by others. It's been fun. It's gotten me excited to hit the DVR to see last night's show.
In that vein, I'm also following @robinson_crusoe now hoping that leads up to something...

Posted by: Michael on September 18, 2008 1:21 PM

I think the update should be at the top of this story. Or there should be a new story written about it. Sure, AMC made a big mistake, but, at least it realized its error and has taken steps to correct it.

Posted by: Jeremy Greenfield on October 7, 2008 9:57 AM

Check out Allen Adamson's spoof of Mad Men here:

Posted by: Allen on November 20, 2008 2:25 PM

We created a social site for the twitter fan fic character portrayals. It has fan groups, character blogs and profiles. It's an extension of the twitter profiles.

Posted by: TwitterFic on February 21, 2009 2:48 AM