Heinz is launching ketchup ads inspired by the TV show Mad Men, after advertising director Don Draper proposed the campaign idea 50 years ago.

The core of the campaign idea is to display foods traditionally paired with ketchup, like French fries, hamburgers, and steak, without the crucial condiment of ketchup. A headline with “Pass the Heinz” appears above the tantalizing foods. The Kraft Heinz Co. stated that the campaign will run as print ads in the New York Post and Variety, as well as on outdoor billboards in New York City.

Heinz Ketchup Ads Based On ‘Mad Men’ Pitch

The ads are based almost entirely on a campaign idea pitched by Draper in the episode “To Have and to Hold,” which aired in 2013. Set in the 1960s New York advertising world, the scene shows Draper presenting his pitch to a baffled group of Heinz clients.

The clients can’t wrap their minds around the concept of advertising something without the product being shown in the the ad. One of them called it “half an ad,” while another proclaimed, “I want to see the bottle. I want to see the product.”

A patient but insistent Draper explains that you don’t need to see the product, because the consumer will complete the thought in their imagination, which is even more powerful.

Watch the pitch below:


The idea may have been too unconventional for the population in 1960, but it looks like now, in 2017, the timing is finally perfect.

Heinz just greenlighted the ads, and ran them almost identical to the ones Draper proposed, starting this Monday, in print and out-of-home executions in New York City. The three ads, featuring close-up shots of scrumptious fries, steak, and hamburgers, will each get its own billboard in NYC. They will also receive support across Heinz’s social media channels.

“It’s so simple,” Anselmo Ramos, chief creative of David, the agency that oversaw this project, said. “Don did a great job. This is just 100 percent 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.”


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