Rewind: Catsup vs. Ketchup, And Why Peggy Olson Was On to Something With Heinz

How Much Did Don Draper Lose in the Ketchup Pitch?

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So Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce lost the Heinz ketchup pitch, and the beans account will likely go by the wayside as well.

But what exactly did these fictional Mad Men lose? In real-life 1968, H.J. Heinz poured $21 million into U.S. advertising, according to Ad Age's ranking of top spenders that year. That was a lot of money then, but the marketer was only ranked No. 83 in spending, putting it behind companies like Pan American airlines (80), Schlitz (49) and five tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds (10). Some things don't change: Procter & Gamble was No. 1, just as it is today.

Of course, Mad Men's storylines don't always square with history. While JWT walked away with the Heinz account on the show, the marketer at the time was entrenched with Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), which took the ketchup account in 1964 from Maxon. Beginning in 1964 the shop unleashed a series of ads positioning slow-pouring Heinz as better than competing "catsups," with their "runny water." In the DDB spot above, Heinz is prevails in an Old West saloon duel, emerging as "the slowest ketchup in the West. East. North. And South."

(For more on DDB's insights, check out this old 4A's 4A's presentation that Matthew Creamer recently unearthed in one of his "Mad Men" reviews.

DDB's approach seems roughly in line with what Peggy Olson, and her Cutler, Gleason and Chaough team, pitched on last Sunday's show -- pitting Heinz ketchup against catsup brands and their "watered-down flavorless sauce."

In contrast, Don Draper sought to sell the brand on a "pass the Heinz" tagline with ketchup-less ads. The episode led to a sudden interest on the difference between "catsup" and "ketchup."

Turns out there isn't much of one. Quoting a Heinz spokesperson, Slate noted that "Henry John Heinz first brought his product to market as 'Heinz Tomato Catsup,' but changed the spelling early on to distinguish it from competitors."

Leo Burnett took over the Heinz U.S. account in 1974, unleashing work that included this ad featuring Carly Simon's "Anticipation," this ad which was licensed for $50,000, according to Ad Age archives.

That pales in comparison to the $154,000 the marketer shelled out a few years earlier in 1970 to produce this spot for Heinz Great American Soups (then handled by Ketchum), starring dancer Ann Miller and the song "Let's Face the Chicken Gumbo and Dance."

These days Heinz is being acquired by a private-equity group that includes Warren Buffet. U.S advertising is handled by Cramer-Krasselt, but Heinz doesn't spend enough to crack Ad Age's top 100.

And why should it, if it keeps getting all this exposure on "Mad Men," which the marketer doesn't pay a cent for?

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