Who's Better at Building Buzz? 'Game of Thrones' Vs. 'Mad Men'

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There are lots of ways a TV show can build buzz around its premiere. On one end of the spectrum, you have shows like "Game of Thrones." In the run-up to the Season 3 premiere, it seemed like HBO was debuting a new promotional image or trailer every week. In contrast, the PR blitz for "Mad Men" was positively spartan.

As the TV blog Warming Glow first pointed out, AMC only offered up a handful of promo photos in the month before the Season 6 premiere of "Mad Men." In contrast, "Game of Thrones," which had a premiere date one week before that of "Mad Men," had already offered up 17 teaser trailers, a full-length trailer, and an extended full-length trailer.

"The closer we get to the premiere date, and the less promotional material that is released, the more curious I am. ... Oh, I see how that works," joked Dustin Rowles of Warming Glow. "You're going to make us watch the season premiere to find out what ... is going on. You're [expletive] geniuses, AMC."

There is something to be said for the less-is-more approach to marketing that "Mad Men" utilizes, especially given the fact that the "next week on" promos for the show are similarly oblique. There's a reason that Warming Glow has referred to the Season 6 marketing for "Mad Men" as "quiet genius." But while this style of marketing for "Mad Men" can be tantalizing, it can also be annoying.

HBO's style of marketing can also annoy viewers. Case in point: One TV blogger's hilariously titled post, "Here's The Newest 'Game Of Thrones' TraileSTART THE SHOW ALREADY GEEZ." In the post, blogger Danger Guerrero wrote, "Upon close examination of the 90 seconds of [new 'Thrones'] footage, I think I can definitively say that I am going to die before the season premiere. That's all I could think while I was watching it: I am going to die. I mean, how ... am I supposed to wait until March 31 when everyone keeps taunting me like this?"

That being said, in terms of marketing effectiveness, HBO's method of marketing may be more alluring to viewers. After all, "Game of Thrones" recently crushed "Mad Men" in the ratings, and the Season 3 "Thrones" premiere set a new online piracy record.

So, what style of marketing is best for a critically acclaimed TV show? Do TV fans respond best to a constant barrage of new footage, or do they prefer a more mysterious, close-lipped approach to building pre-season suspense?

Ultimately, it seems to come down the show itself. "Game of Thrones" can afford to keep showing off new footage: Fans who aren't afraid of spoilers can read the book series the show is based on. In contrast, "Mad Men" needs to be frugal with the details of its plot. "Game of Thrones" plot points can be found in any bookstore, and the story is more about the consequences that arise when secrets are discovered. "Mad Men" needs to keep its cards close to the vest: It's a show that's all about keeping secrets and keeping them well.

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