It turns out Don Draper was way ahead of his time when he pitched his innovative Heinz marketing campaign 50 years ago in the fictitious world of Mad Men.
At the (fictional) time the tomato sauce bosses branded him a ‘maverick’ for suggesting an advert that didn’t contain their classic logo and ketchup bottle.
But now Draper’s ideas are holding water in 2017 boardrooms, with the real life Heinz taking almost exact replicas of the adverts in the TV show for their new campaign.
Nicole Kulwaki, head of the Heinz brand, told AdWeek:
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.
The adverts in Mad Men are ‘tantalisingly incomplete’ with an item of food, simply displayed with only one thing missing… the Heinz.
In the 2013 To Have and to Hold episode, Draper says:
The greatest thing you have working for you is not the photo you take or the picture you paint, it is the imagination of the consumer.
They have no budget, they have no time limit, but if you can get into that space, your ad can run all day.
Even the press release was in the style of a 60s typewriter as they would have been sent in that day.
Anselmo Ramos, chief creative officer of Heinz’ ad agency David, said:
It’s so simple. Don did a great job. This is just 100 per cent on-brand positioning.
It is about never settling. 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. You don’t need to show the product.
Ramos also suggested how the industry should learn and encourage those with ideas to ‘never give up’ because ‘if you really believe in your idea, you’ll get it approved’.
Perhaps Hilton, Hershey’s or Coca Cola will be next in line to use Don Draper’s hard work.
That’s the beauty of using a fictional character’s ideas, you don’t need to give them a cut!