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What Would Don Draper Tweet?: Ad Man Integrates Social Media Into Coursework

Image via TJ Ryan on Flickr
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By Esther D. Kustanowitz, Special to LAist

If “Mad Men” has taught us anything, it’s that advertising is all about the client and the product. But a “Mad Man” for the technology age urges ad firms to put the Don Draper era behind them and consider the consumer in a new manner: through the lens and the interactive venue of today’s social media tools.

By his own admission at the 140 Characters Conference (held last week at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood), Hank Wasiak has lived the “Mad Men” experience. He explained to the crowd of Twitter enthusiasts (this writer among them) that he had started at an advertising firm that he described as “the mirror image” of the fictional Sterling Cooper, an image that included similar clients, attitudes toward sex and drinking, and where they were “smoking something a lot stronger than Lucky Strikes.” It was a time, he says, when “the guys in suits showed us what we wanted to be and what we wanted to buy.” Until now, the essentials of advertising hadn’t changed. But after having witnessed everything in the business for the last five decades, he realized that “social media created the watershed moment.”

While prepping to teach a class at USC’s Marshall School of Business in “Advertising and Promotion Strategy,” Wasiak realized that today’s educational programs are hopelessly out of date. “People look at the business and see doom and gloom, but my enthusiasm is higher than ever, because social media is the killer app, a game changer that’s changing the fundamentals of marketing and advertising,” he said, pointing to three ways: the marketing mix, the way we look at advertising and the metrics for success.