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Clever Creative: Playing Ketchup

​If you were a fan of the AMC show “Mad Men,” you’re going to love today’s “Clever Creative.”

Clever Creative: Playing Ketchup

Posted Thursday March 16th, 2017 by in Creativity + Art.

If you were a fan of the AMC show “Mad Men,” you’re going to love today’s “Clever Creative.” In a fictional world, 50 years ago, two men from a fictional advertising agency met with fictional executives from Heinz, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, to pitch them a campaign. If you don’t remember the scene here it is:

So why are we highlighting a fictional ad campaign? Well, because after 50 years, Heinz has finally realized the brilliance of the creative and will be using them as their newest set of print and out-of-home ads in New York City, just as Don Draper intended. One aspect he did not account for, however, is their use on social media (since computers didn’t come along until Season 7, and even then they were very basic). Heinz’s decision to use these ads was partly a PR stunt to celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary since its first episode premiered, and also because the creative is on-brand with their other communications. It’s been five decades since the company was fictitiously pitched the “Pass the Heinz” campaign, and now they’re playing ketchup by running these ads:




Why our GEMites liked this Clever Creative:

As an advertising agency, you better believe the majority of us saw every season of “Mad Men” at least once. Some of the imaginary creative that we saw throughout the show’s run was brilliant, especially given the time period. It was unique, creative and made us bow down to the all-mighty Don Draper. So, one of the reasons we love the new campaign adopted by Heinz is because it pays homage to our idol. We also love the timeless simplicity of the ads. The fictional creative was pitched during 1968, but the message is still relevant enough to be used in a set of ads in 2017. Perhaps that’s why Heinz didn’t go with Draper’s idea back then, because it was too ahead of it’s time.

However, the most incredible part of these ads is the dedication to recreate the ads precisely as they are seen in the show. Believe it or not, Sterling Cooper Draper Price didn’t have the originals to hand over to Heinz’s current agency (probably because they didn’t keep them, and definitely not because they're an imaginary agency), so their creative team had to start from scratch. The results are spot-on and look like they came right out of the offices of SCDP.

Why our fellow creatives should like this:

We don’t condone copying other people’s work, but this is a very different case because the work in question was created by a fictional group of characters. The idea to use the creative pitched in a TV show is definitely unique and genius. “Mad Men” is a show with millions of fans who will appreciate the usage of a great campaign that Heinz had turned down in the episode. We think our fellow creatives should like these ads because of the buzz and reach it’ll create. We also think this is the perfect example of how you can use anything for inspiration and as a resource when it comes to advertising. Companies shouldn’t limit themselves to internal creative and can look to outside sources like pop culture, TV and movies, and more to come up with one-of-a-kind campaigns.

It only took Heinz 50 years (in reality it was just four) to realize this campaign is a winner, and now they’re playing ketchup.

Let us know what you think, and be on the lookout for next week’s installment of Clever Creative!

If you’re looking for some clever creative of your own, feel free to contact us.


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