Squeezing Mad Men for more ads. Oh, the irony.


One of the great debates inside advertising circles is how much is too much? The typical American has the TV on for 5 hours and 9 minutes each day, of which 27% is paid advertising. Do the math and that’s 1 hour and 23 minutes of TV spots per day, or at 30 seconds per spot, 166 commercials a day.

Enter Mad Men. The Daily is reporting a catfight between the creator of the show, Matthew Weiner, and Cablevision executives, who are said to want to trim the length of Mad Men by 3 minutes to insert, yes, 6 more 30-second commercials. The AMC cable channel, you see, is part of Rainbow Media Holdings, a gem that Cablevision reportedly hopes to spin off soon in an IPO. Improving the financial performance of a business before going public is standard procedure, so what’s a few more spots?

Alas, Mad Men’s beautiful content would have to be cut. It is hard to believe that back in the 1960s U.S. TV viewers only saw 9 minutes of commercials per hour, vs. today’s 16-18 minutes. We love advertising, yes we do … but with 166 TV spots hitting you each day, how many more can possibly work?

Ben Kunz is vice president of strategic planning at Mediassociates, an advertising media planning and buying agency, and co-founder of its digital trading desk eEffective.


One thought on “Squeezing Mad Men for more ads. Oh, the irony.

  1. There is nothing wrong with advertising. But why can’t AMC add a few more minutes of ads without cutting the time from the show? There is no reason why a cable show can’t run over three minutes on the hour; with a little creativity both sides could be served.

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