It took 18 months for Mad Men to return for its long-awaited fifth season but only a few days for the critically acclaimed show to get into hot water. Family members of 9/11 victims are decrying a new phase of the show’s minimalist marketing imagery, reports the New York Times. The ads, which echo the show’s opening credits, show a man (protagonist Don Draper) falling into a white void. They have appeared in subways and on buses since mid-January, but a new series just recently began appearing on highly position billboards and building facades around New York City, prompting cries of insensitivity. Several family members of people lost in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, told the Times the ads are offensive because they bring to mind the imagery of victims jumping from the Twin Towers on the day of the national tragedy.
AMC issued this statement to the Times: “The image of Don Draper tumbling through space has been used since the show began in 2007 to represent a man whose life is in turmoil. The image used in the campaign is intended to serve as a metaphor for what is happening in Don Draper’s fictional life and in no way references actual events.”
With a little more than three weeks until the show’s March 25 premiere, AMC did not reveal how many billboard and building ads were positioned around New York — though they’ve been spotted near West 34th Street’s Macy’s and Pennsylvania Station, says Ad Age — nor did the network discuss whether they would address the complaints by removing the ads altogether.