In this case, advertising imitates art.
AdWeek reports that Heinz has approved ads that were originally presented on the TV series “Mad Men.”
In season 6 of that show, set in 1968, Don Draper pitches a series of print ads to Heinz execs. The ads are novel in that they don’t show ketchup at all – only foods that are wanting it. As Don tells the Heinz execs, “The greatest thing you have working for you… is the imagination of the consumer.”
Now, these ads have been recreated, and will appear on billboards, print and social media. The ads are winkingly credited to both David Miami (Heinz’ real-life ad agency) and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (the fictional “Mad Men” firm).
So why is this a good thing?
Not because these are mind-blowing pieces of creative, though I’d judge them as solid. And not because of the press they’re receiving, though that’s some nice topspin.
It’s a good thing because it reminds us: Ideas can come from anywhere.
Think about it: For these ads to see the light of day, someone at either Heinz or David Miami had to say, “Y’know, there’s an idea out there that didn’t come from the minds of anyone in this room, but I think it works.”
That’s an act of courage – one that simply wouldn’t happen in many organizations.
Back in the ‘90s, the Eureka! Ranch conducted pioneering research into the group brainstorming process. Among the key findings: There was no meaningful correlation between a person’s position on the organizational chart, and the quality of the ideas that person generated.
In fact, the Senior Vice President can actually impede idea generation, especially to the extent that he A) clings to sacred cows or B) throws his weight behind only his own ideas.
That was a powerful early lesson for me, and one that’s been reinforced many times since. Including by Heinz this week.
Brand leaders, remember:
It’s NOT your job to have all the big ideas yourself.
It IS your job to recognize big ideas and bring them to life.
It’s not about ownership. Grab the good ideas wherever you can find them.It's NOT your job to have all the big ideas yourself. It IS your job recognize big ideas and… Click To Tweet
About Matthew Fenton: Matthew founded Three Deuce Branding in 1997 with a simple mission: “To help good people build great brands.” He’s a former CMO who repeatedly led underdog brands to outpace the market, and now he does the same for the clients he serves. Businesses and brands trust Matthew to help them achieve “brand clarity” through core brand strategy and positioning. Matthew is also a highly-rated speaker. Contact Matthew here. He’s based in Chicago.
Copyright 2017 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the About Matthew Fenton section.