50 years later, Heinz approves Mad Men’s ‘Pass the Heinz’ ads and is actually running them
It was a compelling idea, even if the client wasn’t convinced at the time.
Fifty years ago, in the fictional world of Mad Men, Don Draper pitched a daring ad campaign to Heinz execs, for the brand’s ketchup, that proposed not showing the product at all. Instead, the ads would show close-ups of foods that go great with ketchup—french fries, a cheeseburger, a slice of steak—but without any ketchup in sight.
The campaign’s “Got Milk?”-like strategy of creating a craving for a product through its absence was apparently too far ahead of its time. Don didn’t get the account, but now, in 2017, the time for “Pass the Heinz” has come.
In a meta union of advertising’s real and fictional worlds, Heinz just greenlighted the ads—and will run them almost exactly as Draper intended, beginning today, in print and out-of-home executions in New York City.
Partly a PR stunt, partly just solid on-brand communications, the campaign is sure to delight fans of the AMC show, which in July will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its premiere. And in a nice touch, the ads are officially being credited to Heinz’s current agency, David Miami, and to Don’s fictional 1960s firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. (Draper and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who approved the idea, are both listed in the credits.)
Below are the three ads that are running and each one will get its own billboard in NYC.
Nicole Kulwicki, head of the Heinz brand, said, “Even though Don Draper created the ‘Pass the Heinz’ campaign almost 50 years ago, the communications still really work in today’s world. 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 mouthwatering food images, and all that’s missing is the Heinz.”
In the Mad Men episode, “To Have and to Hold” (from season 6, which aired in 2013), the Heinz clients balk, clearly uncomfortable with Don’s unconventional idea, with one of them calling it “half an ad.” “They even said, ‘I want to see the bottle. I want to see the product,’” Ramos said. “And Don says, well, you don’t need to show the product, because the consumer will complete the thought. The product will be in their imagination, which is even more powerful.”
And while the media buy is limited, Kulwicki said this isn’t just a gag for Mad Men fans.
“You can be walking by the billboard and it’s still very powerful, even if you don’t understand the Mad Men connection,” she says. “Of course, we would love Mad Men fans to pick up on it, but we feel it works very well on its own, too.”
Despite not signing off on it ’50 years ago’, Heinz has put it into play, even giving Draper, fictional ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper-Pryce and show creator Matthew Weiner campaign credits (below)
Better late than never for that client approval.
Via: Ad Week