Heinz to run real ad campaign from 'Mad Men'

A failed pitch from a 2013 episode will become a genuine billboard campaign for ketchup

Heinz to run real ad campaign from 'Mad Men'

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, completing his fictional pitch to Heinz in 'Mad Men' [AMC]

Fans of the Matthew Weiner advertising period drama Mad Men were often struck by the creative brilliance of the show’s antihero lead Don Draper, whose pitches became a central plot device across the show’s seven seasons. And it appears Heinz, the food giant, is also a fan, with plans to resurrect a failed pitch as a genuine marketing campaign.

Although created by a fictional character in the 1960s, Heinz has finally seen the light and will now run a series of print ads showing close-up photos of chips, steak and burgers with the Draper-coined slogan ‘Pass the Heinz.’

“Even though Don Draper created the ‘Pass the Heinz’ campaign almost 50 years ago, the communications still really work in today’s world,” said Heinz Head of Brand Nicole Kulwicki.

“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. What we loved about the campaign is that it doesn’t require paragraphs of copy to explain it. It features mouth-watering food images, and all that’s missing is the Heinz.”

Life imitates art

While in the episode (To Have and to Hold from the show’s sixth season) Draper’s pitch receives a cold reception from the Ketchup producer, an almost identical series of print ads have been recreated for real use. The images were produced by the ad agency David Miami, which was tasked by Heinz to model the real ones as closely as possible on the episode ones, as described by Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy’s script.

“[Don and I] had a couple of Old Fashioneds,” quipped Anselmo Ramos, chief creative officer of David, “And he gave me the mechanic from the original campaign.

“As you can imagine, the creatives here are really happy to see their names next to Don Draper and Matt Weiner,” Ramos added. “They’re like, ‘Oh my god, we’re collaborating with them?’ It’s interesting. Sometimes you’ll have two agencies collaborating for a client. This time, it’s a fictional agency and a real agency, trying to sell a campaign that just makes sense for this brand.”

The final print ads, described by Ramos as “almost reverse product placement,” will go on display on billboards across New York City, as well as in the pages of the New York Post and Variety.

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