While viewers may be in for a little culture shock when Mad Men returns for its seventh and final season—the story picks up in January 1969, and in keeping with the blighted aesthetics of the era, Peggy now resembles a sentient macramé owl while Roger is decked out like a captain in the Belgian navy—it’s business as usual for the AMC ad sales team.
Having already sold the bulk of available inventory in the first half of the split season, AMC has carved out a new signature sponsorship for longtime Mad Men backer Ford. AMC evp, ad sales Scott Collins has secured prime real estate for the automaker’s 2015 Lincoln MKC luxury crossover, locking the client into the “A” position of the first commercial pod, in all seven episodes.
To sweeten the pot, the Lincoln creative will roll out of a series of 30-second vignettes featuring some of the past six seasons’ most unexpected moments. (The theme dovetails with Lincoln’s longstanding tagline, “Expect the unexpected.”) While the Lincoln ads will remain the standard length online and in the VOD pods, the vignettes will be extended on the alternate viewing platforms.
Collins won’t start selling off units in the latter half of the final season until this coming upfront (those episodes won’t air until spring), but he’s taking his cues from the broadcast networks when it comes down to the series finale. “I’m not selling the final episode in the upfront,” Collins said. “When I was at USA [Network], a colleague at NBC had the great idea to hold the last episode of Friends for scatter. It’s brilliant … You can only create even more desire when people want what they can’t have.”
While advertisers looking to align themselves with what promises to be a true television event will undoubtedly pay a premium for the privilege, it’s unlikely that units in the Mad Men finale will price as high as those in the last episode of Breaking Bad. (A single 30-second spot in the final 75 minutes of the Walter White saga fetched as much as $340,000.)
For one thing, the ratings aren’t exactly staggering. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Season 6 of Mad Men averaged just 2.42 million viewers and a 0.8 in the 18-49 demo. As such, the cost of entry isn’t particularly steep: around $65,000 per :30, according to media buyers with skin in the game.
Of course, that translates to a hell of a CPM—on the order of $63.99, or about 35 percent higher than the average broadcast CPM. But hey, Mad Men fans have money to burn … and with which to buy stuff. The most upscale drama on TV, nearly half of Mad Men’s loyal following earns an annual salary of $100,000 and up.