Hey, Get off of My Property!

I am amazed at some of the shenanigans that businesses that should know better try to pull.

Today, I received an email from Don Draper.  You know, the studly advertising exec on AMC’s TV hit, Mad Men.  But the email didn’t originate from AMC.  It came from MarketingProfs, an otherwise great resource for marketing and social media content and information.  It was somewhat clever, in that Mr. Draper, who is known as an old-school ad man grappling with the changes in the world occurring in the early to mid-1960’s, stating his reasons for NOT attending MarketingProf’s B2B Forum 2012.  You know, because this forum will be touting new ideas for marketing, and Don is a dyed-in-the-wool (or grey flannel) old school marketer.  Get it?

But to me, this kind of thing does HUGE damage to MarketingProf’s reputation!  I mean, is this what we’re supposed to do now?  Just help ourselves to other business’ intellectual property, because the fame of another business’ creation might somehow boost our own sales?

You know, it’s one thing if a small, bootstrapping organization does something like this out of ignorant exuberance.  But when a business that makes its money by providing marketing advice and services does it, it just blows my mind.  I am no intellectual property expert, but I did spend a good portion of my career in a business that provided IP research to law firms and businesses interested in protecting their IP rights.  There is the concept of Public Domain, where creative works are open to use after a certain period following the death of the work’s creator.  But Don Draper is a current – and hugely popular – work of fiction, and it seems to me that use of his name and persona should be the exclusive right of the business that created him, and made him so popular.  I would have been a lot more comfortable with this zippy little email if it had “The character Don Draper is owned by AMC, Inc. and is used with permission” written at the bottom, even in the tiniest type.

— Chuck Dennis

2 Comments

  1. Posted July 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I had hoped this was going to be a harangue against telephone solicitors. They are using my property and my rented line to sell to me. So I am paying to be annoyed.

  2. Posted July 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry, Chris. But feel free to harangue away here! We like pointing out what is wrong with the world of business, especially if we have a suggestion for making it better.

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