If you were one of those Mad Men fans that felt that some of the fictional ad campaigns created in the show were better than any we’ve seen in real life, then you’ll be pleased to hear that one of them has this week crossed out of the world of TV drama and onto the billboards of New York.
The campaign in question is a set of print and poster ads for Heinz ketchup that Jon Hamm as Don Draper pitched during a 2013 episode of the series. The ads, as the client points out in the programme, are bold: the product is not featured at all and instead close-up photographs of foodstuffs such as fries, steak and a hamburger are centre-stage, topped with the simple line ‘Pass The Heinz’. Draper’s original pitch from the series is shown below:
Draper’s idea was rejected in the show, though is now at last being given its time to shine having been brought to Heinz by ad agency David.
David has created new images for the campaign though these are designed to look as close to those that appeared in the show as possible (bar a slightly changed font). And in recognition of its full co-opting of the Mad Men idea, the contemporary agency has listed fictional agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce alongside its name in the campaign credits.
The campaign is only enjoying a limited run, largely centred on billboards and media in New York, the home of Mad Men. This acknowledges that at heart it is mostly a PR stunt, though the simplicity of the ads’ message means they will still resonate with those who’ve never seen the show. The campaign’s self-confidence is, after all, reminiscent of the long-running Got Milk? ads as well as recent billboards from McDonald’s which reduced its most famous products to pictograms.
But clearly, this campaign will bring most joy to those with a love of Mad Men, Don Draper and his often magical pitches, which somehow elevated advertising to a status rarely, if ever, experienced in the real-life industry.