The hit show Mad Men has rolled out ads for its new season, and they’re causing a bit of a fuss in New York City. Plastered all over the subway system and on billboards throughout Manhattan, the ads show a man falling through space, feet in the air, hands reaching grasping at nothing. There is no mention of the show, only the words “March 25.” Fans, it seems, are supposed to know what the image refers to.
But it turns out that many people, even fans, don’t get the reference. For a good number of New Yorkers, the image brings to mind the bodies that plunged off the World Trade Center buildings on 9/11. AMC denies the suggestion, of course, saying: “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.”
In any event, the image is taking on a life of its own. Subway artists and wiseacres of all stripes are marking up the posters with their own visual mashups, sometimes to hilarious effect. Some samples:
For more images, a good collection is on Gothamist.