In season six of the hit AMC drama “Mad Men,” Don Draper pitches a minimalist ad for Heinz ketchup in which the product is not shown at all. Instead, the ads show close-ups of food that would pair perfectly with some ketchup.
The tagline: “Pass the Heinz.”
The fictional Heinz executive in the show shot the idea down. “It feels like half an ad,” he tells Don. But it appears the real Heinz executives took notice. AdAge reports that Heinz has decided to run the ad nearly fifty years after Don pitched it in the fictional universe of the show (and four years after the actual episode, “To Have And To Hold,” aired).
“Even though Don Draper created the ‘Pass the Heinz’ campaign almost 50 years ago, the communications still really work in today’s world,” Nicole Kulwicki, head of the Heinz brand, told AdWeek. “Mr. Draper really understood the one thing every Heinz fan knows, which is to never settle for the foods you love without the great taste of Heinz.”
Heinz will run the ads on billboards in New York City and in the New York Post and Variety, as well as on Heinz’s social media channels, AdWeek reports. Creative agency David will take partial credit for the ad along with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce — the fictional ad agency from the show.
The David team rewatched the episode featuring the Heinz pitch. They decided to use it after getting “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner’s approval — and now has capitalized on the great PR stunt.
“This is just perfectly on brand,” Anselmo Ramos, chief creative officer and founder at David, told AdAge.
The ad comes ahead of the 10th anniversary of the series premiere of “Mad Men.” The show won numerous Emmy awards for its riveting portrayal of 1960s corporate culture. Jon Hamm also earned an Emmy for his portrayal of ad man extraordinaire Don Draper.
Billboards at 7th and 49th street, 10th Ave. and 29th street near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, and 23rd Street and the Highline will display the “Mad Men” inspired Heinz ads.
“We would love Mad Men fans to pick up on it,” Ms. Kulwicki said of the ads. “But we feel it works very well on its own, too.”
Photo credit: Creative Commons