1. It’s been two years since Mad Men went off the air, and now, one of the ads Don Draper (Jon Hamm) presented on the show will be turned into a real-life campaign.
2. In the Season 6 episode titled “To Have and to Hold,” Don and Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) pitched an ad to the makers of Heinz with the slogan “Pass the Heinz.”
On the show, the entire pitch was shrouded in secrecy, and for a time, it was referred to by the alias “Project K.”
3. Heinz ultimately decided to pass on the idea.
One of the concerns the company had was if the consumer would be able to make the connection with the product without the ketchup bottle being present.
4. In that same episode, Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), who’d previously left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce for a different agency, presented an ad that was well-received by the company, because it showcased the iconic ketchup bottle front and center.
5. Peggy’s presentation was arguably better than Don’s — and it used Don’s iconic line from Season 3 with a client who planned to tear down Penn Station…
But Heinz passed on Peggy’s pitch, as well.
6. But now, more than 50 years later (per the show’s timeline), Heinz is turning Don’s creative vision into an actual advertisement, using the same images.
7. Anselmo Ramos is the chief creative officer and founder of DAVID, the ad agency responsible for recreating Don’s idea. “One day, we were rewatching Mad Men and saw that episode and we go, ‘Man it’s a bummer that they didn’t approve that ad.’ It’s a great ad,” he told BuzzFeed News.
Nicole Kulwicki, the head of Heinz Brands told BuzzFeed News that what the company loves about it is that “the communication still really works in today’s world.” She added the ad “doesn’t require paragraphs of copy to explain it. It just features mouthwatering food images and all that’s missing is the Heinz.”
8. As for Heinz’s concerns about Don’s ad on Mad Men, Ramos said, “The consumer will complete the thought.” By not seeing the bottle, the consumer will meet Heinz halfway there, he said. “It’s in their imagination — very powerful.”
And in case you were wondering, Kulwicki said that Heinz talked with Lionsgate, the production company and distributor for Mad Men, in order to work out the details with running the ads.
9. Three billboards featuring the ad will be erected in New York City on Mar. 13.
They’ll be on Seventh Avenue at 49th Street, Tenth Avenue and 29th Street at the Lincoln Tunnel entrance, or the High Line park and 23rd Street.