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How Mad Men Won 6 Emmys


It turns out that AMC relied on some clever marketing tricks to nab its 6 Emmys. It turns out that ingenious story arcs, elaborate sets, detailed costumes, and all the subtle nuances that are employed to capture the realities of a specific era in time are not enough to capture an Emmy. It takes buzz and selling your show to the right people, not particularly to a wide audience that will guarantee ratings, just to a select few who need that extra push to be convinced that your show is worth voting for at the end.

Last year, after the success of the network’s launch of its first-ever longform, “Broken Trail,” which rustled up 9.8 million viewers, AMC decided to go prospecting for Emmy gold. Shrewdly, execs hired Murray Weissman, a veteran Oscar campaigner who once had been PR chief of the TV academy, and agreed to spend generously for the necessary investment. Weissman worked closely with AMC general manager Charlie Collier, PR chief Theano Apostolou and marketing gurus Gina Hughes and Alison Hoffman, and together they struck a motherload on awards night: “Broken Trail” won four Emmys, including best miniseries and actor (Robert Duvall).

Encouraged by that result plus positive reviews for its first-ever drama series, “Mad Men,” AMC decided to take the plunge again, proceeding aggressively to crank up the ballyhoo for that show plus ratings sleeper “Breaking Bad.”

“The DVDs were shipped to TV academy members a little later than I would’ve liked,” Weissman says. “Just around the same time voters are being deluged with other screeners, but the DVDs were beautifully packaged, so maybe the production delay was OK.”

Then AMC pulled off its savviest ploy. It scheduled the debut of the second season of “Mad Men” on July 21, so new hype about the show buzzed across Hollywood around the same time Emmy nominations were announced July 17 and the final round of voting commenced. Strategic launching of a show’s new season has paid off for other networks in the past — like HBO, which frequently launched new episodes of “Sex and the City,” for example, in June when academy members voted on nominations.

[Full story at LATimes]


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