This week's Mad Men (which Film Crit Hulk reviewed very well here) saw Joan Harris sleeping with a Jaguar dealer in order to help SCDP secure the Jaguar advertising contract. Her gambit worked and the firm now has their car. But the real world Jaguar doesn't quite approve, and they tweeted about it:
The question many people had was how it's possible that Mad Men gets away with stuff like this, which they do with some regularity. The answer is pretty simple - they have to clear the imagery they use, but they're free to say whatever the hell they want about the companies and any fictional employees of those companies.
Matthew Weiner told AdRant back in 2008:
We have a very very aggressive clearance policy. So, we get permission if we want to show the image, but we talk about stuff all the time and no one can do anything about it. You can say "brand X causes cancer" any time you want to. The toughest thing was the cigarette thing in the pilot. I said I wanted to use real brands and it became a very complex issue. They have the legacy thing, which keeps them from appearing on TV but in that dramatic context, in the satirical context, that's freedom of speech.
I imagine that Mad Men doesn't run storylines by the brands when they're clearing imagery. I wonder how many brands turn them down; then again, the brands may be less touchy about historical imagery.