How to Sell High-Speed Rail, Mad Men Style

Watch the Mad Men geniuses of marketing brainstorm ways to sell America on high-speed rail.

It's totally perplexing, but high-speed rail has become a controversial issue in American politics. Governors like Florida's Rick Scott have been turning away federal rail funds for purely ideological reasons, ignoring the evidence from around the world that such investment in infrastructure pays huge economic and social dividends.

Like so many good ideas, high-speed rail needs better messaging. Leave it to the brainy manipulators of Mad Men to come up with ways to better sell high-speed rail to Americans. In this Funny or Die short, set in a Madison Avenue office in 1965, watch the mad men brainstorm a high-speed rail campaign.


The Funny or Die folks joined forces with U.S. PIRG to produce the video for their high-speed rail campaign. Speaking of which, go to post haste and send a message to your senator insisting that they support high-speed rail.

The sad irony of the clever video is that the Pete Campbell character—who is so keen on selling America on rail—is convinced by colleague Harry Crane that trains don't need an ad campaign, because trains just make too much sense. Cars need marketing, as they're so expensive, polluting, and stressful.

Of course, we already knew that Vincent Kartheiser—who plays that smarmy ad guy Campbell—likes to ride the bus. It's nice to see him offering his talents to another positive transit-related cause.