1. It may have made Madison Avenue sexy, but Mad Men certainly has tried our patience of late, with a protracted battle between the network AMC and its creator Matthew Weiner, that held up the new season for nearly a year-and-a-half. The delay didn’t hurt ratings: Sunday’s season premiere drew 3.5 million U.S. viewers, a jump from the previous season kickoff’s 2.92-million. This is a positive for network AMC, since it demonstrates that video-on-demand ratings are contributing to overall audience strength, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Benjamin Mogil wrote in a research note. Its studio, Lions Gate, has sold syndication rights to Netflix, but Mr. Mogil noted that the ratings are “positive for DVD sales and for international licence deals” for Lions Gate.
2. But when it comes to monetizing Mad Men, Lions Gate has taken a cue from, of all things, that saccharine network hit Glee. At midnight following the premiere, the studio released an iTunes single, a recording of Jessica Paré’s saucy rendition of ’60s French-language pop song Zou Bisou Bisou, made famous by and British actress Gillian Hills and performed in the episode by the new Mrs. Draper. It is also upping the merch with sales of a limited edition vinyl recording. Glee’s iTunes sales are nothing to sneeze at but here’s hoping a more musical Mad Men is not in the works. Regardless, the leading man’s new Canadian lady is a welcome addition, if only for her ability to cause legions of American fans to Google Québécois swear words (could this be the first time “câlice” has been uttered on a major U.S. show?).
3. The Quebec advertising industry honoured its best on Thursday night at the Créa awards. The Grand Prix Créa for the best ad of the year went to agency Sid Lee for its campaign for Quebecor Inc.’s Vidéotron, in which comedians Sugar Sammy and André-Philippe Gagnon tested its customer service agents with prank calls. Agency Lg2 took home the largest number of awards, including numerous awards for an anti-gambling campaign and a sweep of the radio categories. The awards, now in their seventh year, are organized with the Association of Quebec Advertising Agencies.
4. Social media can be a minefield, but brands are devoting more of their advertising budgets to court “likes” on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and other influence on the social Web. In a Creative Group survey, 53 per cent of advertising and marketing executives in Canada said they would up their spending on Facebook this year. Many will also increase spending on Twitter, YouTube and Google+ – and if they are not increasing spending, most are maintaining it at current levels. Advertising giant WPP also announced this week that it is pouring more money into Facebook –doubling its spending to $400-million (U.S.) this year, CEO Martin Sorrell said at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in L.A.