While it would be wonderful to speculate on the modern-day value of the fictional ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, I'm talking about the more realistic question of how much a product is worth if it's mentioned on the show.
Mad Men is known for using actual brands as fodder for its fictional ad executives. Recent examples include Pond's Cold Cream, Honda, Clearasil, Mountain Dew, Pepsi and, just this week, Samsonite. Then there are the advertisers themselves who have created Mad Men-specific ads for the show. Such brands there include Breyer's Ice Cream, Suave, Dove, Clorox and BMW.
Just looking at numbers the ratings would dictate that the current viewers are down. But those numbers are flawed in that they don't take into account people who watch it later on iTunes (as I did when my Verizon DVR failed to record the episode) nor does it count the people who get the DVDs from Netflix and are behind the current narrative arc.
That said, Todd and I took a look at the Twitter stream to see what chatter happened surrounding the Samsonite brand after Sunday night's show. We did a cursory search earlier in the week and didn't take blogs, Facebook or other social media activity into account, so this is a small sample.
Still, with just 21 tweets from individuals commenting on Samsonite in particular, we estimate the brandreach as 24,394 twitterers (counting followers, retweets, etc). All of the tweets were neutral to positive, so based on our own calculations, Samsonite saw a brandshift (change in attitude) to be +29%, creating a net positive impact on a little more than 70 consumers. You can easily see how you can extrapolate this data out to the greater public, looking at Twitter as your real-time focus group to determine, roughly, if media mentions are having a positive, negative or neutral impact on your brand.
Taken to the individual level, some tweeters expressed their desire to run right out and buy a Samsonite suitcase. This is true even though Draper and his team came up with a relatively lame TV concept (see below). Though, as a Jets fan I loved the idea of using Joe Namath.
There are plenty of other examples of positive Mad Men-related brand shift, like this Esty ad for a "vintage" Samsonite suitcase that uses Mad Men as part of its description.