When AMC unveiled its promotional imagery for the upcoming fifth season of Mad Men in January, the poster — depicting a businessman falling against a white background — elicited mixed reactions.
Taken directly from show’s opening credits, the iconic image unfortunately evokes more than just Mad Men: It also calls up memories of 9/11 — notably victims falling from the towers. This inherent confusion wouldn’t be quite as controversial if the designers hadn’t deliberately omitted the show’s name; the only text is the premiere date at the bottom.
Now that larger billboards are going up around New York City as the March 25 premiere approaches, the jarring similarities between the advertorial art and the tragic events of September 11 are even more apparent.
AMC issued an explanation to the New York Times, stating, “The image of Don Draper tumbling through space has been used since the show began in 2007 to represent a man whose life is in turmoil. The image used in the campaign is intended to serve as a metaphor for what is happening in Don Draper’s fictional life and in no way references actual events.”
It makes sense, but is it enough of a justification?