As we get ready for Sunday’s episode 5 of Mad Men I thought it would be fun to share an interesting sidelight to last week’s Heinz drama. SCDP and CGC both were pitching to take the prized Heinz Ketchup account away from their current agency, DDB. A big risk for Don, a big opportunity for Peggy and the first time they went “head to head” on a major pitch.
Don’s big idea was “Pass The Heinz.” Peggy’s campaign was built around a leadership positioning that Heinz is in a category of its own. “Heinz. The Only Ketchup”
We know that neither campaign idea won the account. My Blogcritics article, “To Have and To Hold” discusses DDB’s powerful work on the Heinz account and the strong realationship the agency enjoyed with Heinz until the business was moved to Leo Burnett in 1974. Ad Age published an interesting piece written by E.J. Schultz that fills in more details of the Heinz/DDB relationship.
It is very interesting that DDB actually produced a series of commercials that play off the “Ketchup vs Catsup” strategy Peggy pitched to the client. DDB created a very successful campaign built around the idea that Heinz was “The Slowest Ketchup In The West.” This campaign was running while I was working at SCDP and it generated very positive press and was featured on DDB’s show reel. Heinz was the ketchup “good guy” up against the ordinary catsup “bad guys”. This clever device was used as the way to demonstrate the superior thickness and richness of Heinz compared to thin and runny competitive catsups.
One of the best commercials in this series is the “Saloon” spot that pits our Heinz hero against a saloon full of catsup gunslingers waiting to take him down. Simply produced, “Saloon”uses the classic cliche trappings of the Western genre that was very popular at the time with shows like Gunsmoke and Bonanza. This is a great example of bringing a product demonstration to life in smart and entertaining way in the context of an overall campaign idea. DDB was famous for this kind of innovative creative work. I hope you enjoy the spot as much as I do.
Stay tuned for my review of episode five.