food for selfish thought

food for selfish thought:

biased observations that you may not agree with

does it count?

"Don Draper couldn't sell it. Maybe we can." 


This was the sentiment behind some Heinz ads that went on to win multiple gold Lions. The agency David Miami successfully sold "Pass The Heinz" to the eponymous client this year, something straight out of any Mad Men fan's dream. 

But does this count?


I have a problem with it, let's see if I can convince you to do the same. This agency wholeheartedly acknowledged that the ads were written by a fictional person (Jon Hamm's Don Draper), but they weren't. I mean sure, in the show he creates them. But someone had to write the ads didn't they? Someone had to come up with this idea that Don would pitch to the Ketchup giant. And there lies my major problem. How is this not plagiarism? 

David Miami won the Lions, not the writers of Mad Men. Even if they cleared it with the writers of the show, what sort of precedent does this create for advertising? Everyone knows you have to know how to sell ice to an Eskimo to be a good advertiser—the pitch is an integral part of the job. But where does the line get drawn from creating an idea and pitching it to selling something your company didn't even come up with. 

And it doesn't stop there. They didn't just sell the idea. They won awards off of selling someone else's idea. Is that what the Cannes Lions are meant to be given away for? Doing an outstanding job of putting something from Mad Men on a building-sized billboard. 


It disappoints me that, as such a fan of the show, I am so bothered by this media buy. I'm sure plenty of people lost their minds (in a good way) when they walked past the massive billboards straight out of Mad Men. And for good reason—they're beautiful ads after all, springing from a brilliant idea.

So why not just invite the creators of the ads to Cannes and give them some Lions as well? 

Wade Burton