“Texaco used to pay for the Metropolitan Opera to exist. Armstrong Tile used to pay for Jacques Cousteau. Sponsorship. If American Express said that they wanted to take care of Mad Men, not put any ads in it, and say, “American Express presents Mad Men,” and even have Don Draper throw the card around once in a while, that incredible purple card, the one Eisenhower had — that is the past of advertising, not the future of advertising.
As a content provider, I look at the networks and say their desire to reach this mass audience to preserve their advertising dollars is half the reason why their content slid. It’s insane. It’s insane to guess what people want. It’s a joke. If you have no personal opinions, you should not be involved in the content business. You’ve got big businesses and they’ve got lots of money at stake and they have stockholders, and I understand why things move the way they move.
When I look at digital, the dark side of it for me is the physicality that’s being presented alongside the Internet. I think about that movie The Matrix, and about these bodies that are human batteries that support computers. I met this guy who was creating software where you could watch Mad Men and you could chat with your friend while you’re watching it, and things would pop up, and facts would pop up, and I said, ‘You’re a human battery. Turn the fucking thing off! You’re not allowed to watch the show anymore. You’re missing the idea of sitting in a dark place and having an experience. Are you just like sitting with your phone and you’re kissing your girlfriend and saying, “‘I’m kissing my girlfriend! This is so great, we’re having sex!’” EXPERIENCE THINGS!”
— Matthew Weiner at yesterday’s Mad Men panel at City Winery, part of the New Yorker Festival, when asked about sponsorship.