Photo: Screengrab from Esquire
When cryptic posters showing a man in a suit falling started showing up a few weeks back, fans of AMC’s Mad Men were ecstatic that Don Draper was finally returning after a 17-month break.For others, it was a painful reminder of 9/11.
The ads, which appeared on buildings in New York and Los Angeles, bear a spooky resemblance to the horrible image of “The Falling Man” that appeared in newspapers the day following the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade centre.
“If I was walking around Manhattan and saw the billboard, I might be instantly reminded of those who leaped to their death in desperation on 9/11 — and yes, one of them could have been my sister,” said Anita LaFond, whose sister was in the north tower, to The New York Times.
While the Mad Men ads have been in subway stations and bus stops for close to a month now, the recent reaction was caused by the placement of the ads on sides of tall buildings, which makes them closely resemble the images of people falling from the towers on 9/11.
Esquire, the magazine that first published an article called “The Falling Man” in 2003, also brought further attention to the debate with an article they published called “Falling (Mad) Man” that was published at the end of January.
Those familiar with Mad Men know the image is a part of the opening credits and has been part of the show from the first time it aired in 2007.
The creator of the show, Matthew Weiner, is a fan of Hitchcock movies and the opening scenes were meant to invoke that classic movie feel. The falling figure in those opening scenes closely resembles the falling figure used in the poster for Vertigo.
In the New York Times article, AMC denied there is any connection between this poster and 9/11.
“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.”
These are not the first ads to spark a controversy around 9/11, although the previous offenses were more blatant. In 2011, a law firm was forced to pull an ad after using the image of an actual firefighter who responded to the attacks. And in 2009, the World Wildlife Fund created an ad that showed planes eerily heading for Manhattan where the Twin Towers were still standing.
Here’s how E! and The New York Times played the images:
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