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If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Making messages resonate starts with understanding your audience.  Experience has taught me that people like to see a reflection of themselves – their interests, their lives, their aspirations.  The last one is exceptionally powerful, because it implies the future.

I’ll apply this thesis to something I understand considerably better – television.  Looking specifically at AMC’s Mad Men, there are takeaways that explain why its messages resonate so strongly with viewers.

Frank Rich hit the nail on the head about what makes Mad Men so relevant.  “…it’s our identification with an America that, for all its serious differences with our own, shares our growing anxiety about the prospect of cataclysmic change.  Mad Men is about the dawn of a new era, and we, too, are at such a dawn.  And we are uncertain and worried about what comes next.”

Uncertainty and worry have marked the news of the day.  In just the last decade, we’ve been rocked by changes, from 9/11 to the recession, and it is clear that moving forward, America will be markedly different.  Watching the Mad Men generation approach a period of significant change, there is something comfortable, sensible and satisfying about knowing the outcome.  The writers have perfectly defined their audience’s psyche and have tapped into it brilliantly.

But before you decide that all messages should involve fedoras, afternoon gimlets and infidelity, beware of audience fatigue and cultural shift (Wall Street 2 isn’t going to be about the hedonistic lives of bankers) and always be looking ahead of trends (no, not vampires).

After all, as Don Draper said, “Nostalgia is delicate, but potent.”

Posted by Katie Denis, Account Executive (@katiefoxdenis)
The views expressed in this post are mine alone and do not reflect the views of Vehr Communications, LLC.