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'Mad Men' inspires 'Newsweek'

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Seems like everyone, even Newsweek magazine, wants a piece of Jon Hamm.

Newsweek editor Tina Brown announced today that in promotion for Mad Men’s fifth season premiere on March 25 (!), the magazine would be going Mad. (Well, not Mad.) Specifically, the entire publication would revert back to its 1960s design — including the advertisements.

Brown told Ad Age, “Newsweek was very much on the cultural forefront at the time of the show. It covered the events that are so much of the background for the show’s drama — the burgeoning civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the Vietnam War. That was Newsweek‘s cutting-edge beat and its flourishing journalistic subject. So it seemed like a wonderful marriage in a sense to take that and apply it to the magazine, to make the magazine an homage to the period.”

I don’t know about you, but if they can get advertisers on board, I might just pick up a copy. (Who am I kidding? I’ll take any excuse for more Don Draper pictures). Much like the fun that was had with television advertisements during last season’s run — with commercials, like the one for Clorox, getting in on the vintage feel — I think this idea has the potential to create the kind of buzz Newsweek so obviously needs wants.

It’s no secret Newsweek has seen better days. But at least Mad Men seems like a more organic concept than the magazine’s other recent attention-grabbing attempts, like the fake photo of Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, or Michele Bachmann with the crazy eyes.

Of course, this is 2012, so some Mad Men mainstays are going to be tossed right off Madison Avenue. Sorry, Lucky Strike: Much like Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Newsweek no longer accepts cigarette advertisements. I’m also curious how they’ll temper or manipulate the rampant sexism that appeared in so many older ads. On Mad Men the sexism is subverted and also part of a larger point that the program is making. So I don’t expect a “vintage-inspired” ad for cleaning supplies, but with all the excitement over what Joan and Betty wear, fashion ads seem like the natural, safe choice.

I’m excited to see if they’re able to pull this ‘blast from the past’ off. Do you like the idea, or does it not feel right for a news magazine? (Esquire must be kicking itself.) Will you pick up a copy of 2012-meets-1965 Newsweek?

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