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To Show Or Not To Show The Product In Your Ads?

Last weekend’s Mad Men episode featured Don and Peggy in an agency showdown, competing for the Heinz Ketchup business. Not surprisingly, both campaigns were strong. While neither shop walked away with the business – Heinz ended Heinz ended up going with a bigger shop – it was clear that the client was buying in more to Peggy’s campaign, which featured the product front and center. 

The giant bottle atop blocked type declaring “Heinz. The Only Ketchup.” is bold. But does it evoke appetite appeal, the emotion that comes with seeing delicious food photography, or the taste we all know that can only come from the mixing of a great ketchup with comfort food like French Fries or a burger? THAT’S the angle Don went with – choosing not to show the product at all. 

That absence of the product makes us yearn for it – to be in the ad and, more importantly, in our hands / on our plates / in our mouths. Which is why Peggy’s concept was darn good – but Don’s was greatness.

Heinz actually reaped some modern benefits from this 1960s creative shootout, with social consumption jumping 25%! Now if only they would actually run “Don’s” ad campaign. THAT would get people talking (and buying ketchup)…

~ @AdvertGirl


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