In this week’s season finale of Mad Men, a Hershey’s pitch is the catalyst for the episode’s climax, in which Don Draper finds himself uncharacteristically unable to lie about his past. While the squeaky-clean executives of the late ’60s were turned off by his catharsis, the actual brand recently voiced their praise of the scene: “It was such a wonderful, organic moment that was actually very accurate about the company’s history, and it was able to tell the story of our brand and our founder, which made it so memorable.” Despite this (perhaps unintentional) synergy, Mad Men has never been about product placement, instead using ads to comment on the evolution of America in the 1960s. With that in mind, here are a few of the real-life brands that have played the biggest role in shaping Mad Men‘s plot.
Don Draper has been hidden in varying layers of secrecy since the show’s pilot, but we continue to see proof that his façade is cracking. The Hershey’s pitch is the strongest evidence yet, as Don, for once, can’t even manage to lie about his childhood to strangers. Don’s shady upbringing has been a big part of this season in particular, and a pitch about ideal American youth served as the perfect moment for him to unburden himself. The result may have been a complete failure, but the pitch would surely stay in the Hershey’s executives’ heads as they shopped around other agencies.