We can’t imagine the advertising geniuses at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce making a rookie mistake like this.
Fans of Mad Men are undoubtedly familiar with the famous opening credit sequence in which a faceless, suit-clad man falls from a skyscraper in slow motion, passing period-relevant ads on his way down. With the show’s commitment to genuine historical accuracy, it’s no surprise that the images featured in this opening sequence are from real print ads.
No surprise, that is, unless you’re Gita Hall May, the model whose face has appeared at the start of every episode since the show’s 2007 debut without her knowledge or, allegedly, her consent.
In a lawsuit filed against Lionsgate earlier this month, May claims that the show’s producers didn’t secure her consent before running an image of her face taken from a 1950s Revlon hairspray ad. In fact, her attorney alleges that his client was completely unaware of the situation until her granddaughter recently pointed it out to her.
The suit states: “At no time did she agree to allow, forty years later, her image to be cropped from the photo, in secret, and inserted as a key element in the title sequence of a cable television series, without her consent and for commercial purposes.”
We can’t imagine this bad press will affect the ratings for Mad Men‘s sixth season premier next week (we’re totally on the waiting-with-bated-breath bandwagon), but we are a little disappointed to learn that the makers of a classy show about tip-top reputation management could have made such an amateur mistake.