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Don Draper’s Heinz Ketchup Ad Campaign Is Actually Happening

From ‘Mad Men’ to IRL billboards


If Mark Twain was right and there really is no such thing as a new idea, perhaps the next best move is to borrow ideas from fictional characters who can’t sue. To that end, the newest campaign for Heinz ketchup is the very same one that Canadian Club-swilling ad man Don Draper unsuccessfully pitched in a 2013 episode of Mad Men, Adweek reports.

The ads feature closeup images of foods traditionally anointed with ketchup, such as burgers and fries, along with the words “Pass the Heinz.” Though the on-screen versions of the company’s executives were decidedly unimpressed with the pitch and ultimately passed on it, noting that it felt like “half an ad” due to the absence of the Heinz ketchup bottle itself, their IRL counterparts are clearly more enthusiastic about the campaign, which was presented to them by creative agency David.

How much did the ad agency get paid to simply recycle one of Don Draper’s ideas? Hard to say, but they did have to do at least some legwork: “We didn’t have the files, so we had to do a photo shoot,” David’s chief creative officer, Anselmo Ramos, told Adweek. “It needed to look exactly the same, and that was a beautiful challenge.”

Kraft Heinz

The campaign is set to appear on billboards in Manhattan, as well as within the pages of the New York Post and Variety and on social media.

Will this set off a trend of brands co-opting Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ideas for real-life use? Probably not — though there are certainly some viable ideas to be swiped from the series, many of the pitches from brands or products that no longer exist (think Patio Cola and the restaurant chain Burger Chef) or incredibly sexist themes that would never fly today (see Jaguar).

Watch Don Draper’s original Heinz pitch, below:

Heinz Approves Don Draper’s ‘Pass the Heinz’ Ads [Adweek]
The Top 10 Food and Restaurant Moments From ‘Mad Men’ [E]
More Marketing Coverage [E]