truth in advertising

Heinz Is Using a Rejected Don Draper Pitch in Its Real Advertising, Because Reality Is a Lie

Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Photo: Justina Mintz/AMC/AMC Networks

While Mad Men has been long put to bed and its principals have since moved on (physically, if not spiritually), the AMC show is still making occasional cultural waves, especially within advertising. Arguably, advertising got cooler, breezier, and more mid-century after Mad Men’s run, which makes sense: If you worked in advertising, you were no doubt inspired by all the glamour and sex appeal the series piped into your industry (never mind the character angst and substance abuse). However, today the Heinz Company took that affection and inspiration one step further when they announced they were resurrecting a Mad Men pitch Don Draper (Jon Hamm) makes to fictional Heinz execs in season six.

As Deadline is reporting, the “Pass the Heinz” pitch was actually rejected in the episode. But in Heinz’s real press release announcing the print and billboard campaign — which looks nearly identical to the in-episode pitch, designed by delightfully bearded art director and Peggy-lover Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), the company credits the fictional ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with the campaign. The ketchup giant calls SCDP “a full-service advertising agency located in New York, working with clients in a variety of industries including automotive, health care, consumer products, food, and other packaged goods. The firm does not accept any tobacco-related work.” So if you’re keeping track, that’s a real ad campaign based on a fake campaign, credited to a fake ad agency that Heinz is pretending is a real ad agency. Anyway, pass the Heinz, won’t ya?

Heinz to Use a Rejected Mad Men Pitch in a Real Ad Campaign