New Heinz Ketchup Ads Inspired By ‘Mad Men’

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Think ketchup, you think Heinz.

And that’s exactly the word association fictional ad man Don Draper once pitched to Heinz executives in an episode from the TV series “Mad Men,” set in the 1960s.

Draper: “Pass the Heinz.”

Fictional Heinz Execs: “You mean the Heinz ketchup.”

Draper: “It’s Heinz. Only means one thing.”

In the show, Heinz executives reject the ad campaign.

“It feels like half an ad,” one of them tells Draper.

But now Kraft Heinz is resurrecting the fictional TV ad proposal and making it real with billboards and pictures of French fries, steak, and a hamburger with the simple words “Pass the Heinz.”

“It’s a brilliant creative move,” says local ad man, Bob Oltmanns.

Oltmanns says the “Mad Men” episode is all too real from personal experience.

“You pour your heart and soul into selling the client on your million dollar idea, fully expecting that they’re going to see it the way you see it, and then you finish, and they look at you and say, ‘I don’t get it. What else do you got?’” recalls Oltmanns.

Turns out, the simplicity of the proposed ad was ahead of its time.

“Give Don Draper credit. The actual ad itself was 20 years ahead of its time. Advertising in the 1960s was very literal,” Oltmanns says.

Back then, the fictional Heinz executives tell Draper, “We’ll be in touch.”

Now, a fictional 50 years later, they are in touch with a limited ad buy in New York City.

“New York City is the logical place because it is the advertising capital of the world,” says Oltmanns. “It’s the largest media market in the United States.”

Kraft Heinz told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday that they worked with Lionsgate to get permission to use the “Mad Men” ads that will run only in New York for four weeks.

So it won’t be seen in Pittsburgh even if ad man Don Draper advises, “Your ad can run all day.”

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