How cool, and meta, is this? In a joint effort between real-life ad agency David and reel-life ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Heinz’s latest ad campaign was pulled straight from the fictional world of Mad Men. Because if you’re going to try and sell ketchup to the masses, Don Draper’s your man.
On Mad Men, Draper met with Heinz execs and pitched the idea that they NOT show their product at all, and instead, only show close-ups of dishes that go great with ketchup. His proposed tagline was simple: “Pass the Heinz.” Combined with the mouthwatering fries, burger and questionable steak that were clearly missing something, the phrase was perfect. But, sadly, the fictional clients balked at not seeing the bottle and eventually passed on his brilliant pitch.
In the episode, “To Have and to Hold,” Draper said that, “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.”
The ad was ahead of its time in the show’s universe, but 2017 marks a new era, where customers are a little more savvy. And Heinz is all over it.
According to Anselmo Ramos, David’s chief creative officer, they wanted to recreate the images for the condiment company. “We didn’t have the files, so we had to do a photo shoot,” Ramos explained. “It needed to look exactly the same, and that was a beautiful challenge.”
“You look at these beautiful shots of empty fries, or a burger, and there’s something missing. And when you say ‘Pass the Heinz,’ that’s all you need to say,” Ramos continued.
The ads even came with a typewriter-style press release set in the show’s fictional universe, with Draper and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who approved the idea, both listed in the credits.
In the words of Don Draper, “It’s Heinz. It only means one thing.” (Sorry, Heinz mustard.)