When AMC contacted us to generate concepts for Mad Men's final season, it was like a shot of "energy serum." We were asked to create a promo that was animated, or not. That featured the show's characters, or not. That referenced Mad Men's iconic open, or not. And that was retro.
In very little time we generated more than a half dozen concepts along with ideas for music. The looks referenced some of our favorite late 60s to early 70s artists and designers: Peter Max, Bonnie McLean, Heinz Edelmann, Andy Warhol and many more. The looks were well received, but AMC seemed especially fond of one picture of the silhouetted figure from the show's titles standing before an open door. From the door wafts multi-colored plumes that could have flowed right out of Milton Glaser's portrait of Dylan.
Based on that image, AMC wanted us to expand the look into a whole promo using new psychedelic art that certainly looked like something by Glaser — because it was. Though still very active as a designer and illustrator, Glaser had long ago retired the groovy look that first launched him to prominence. Mad Men creator Matt Weiner thought that the artist's 60s look perfectly embodied the era and the rudderless mood of the show's seventh season.
We brought Glaser's art to life and expanded it to trace the footsteps of the silhouetted figure (who for the first time bears the unmistakable profile of Don Draper) through a swirling, Day-Glo world. After underscoring this mind journey with an array of different tracks (including work by Sinatra, the Doors and contemporary composers) Weiner and AMC settled on David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World," a recommendation from our original pitch.
The spot sparked plenty of buzz (so to speak). But for us, the best part was working on a show we love with a designer we love and music we love. Now THAT'S a shot of energy serum!
The Party's Over
For the final half of the final season, AMC came to Primal Screen to help celebrate the series and mourn its departure. We collaborated with the network to create this reflective, dreamy garden party. Armed with footage they provided, we built visual rhythm and set up tableaux by placing the show’s characters in ever-shifting frames. We set the whole affair to Diana Ross’ yearning Love Hangover. The result is boldly sentimental without being sugary — just what we love about Mad Men.
1967, Milton Glaser