The seventh season of Mad Men, split into two half-seasons, didn’t include an excessive number of brands and placements. Besides Coca-Cola that had a special appearance in the show’s finale, I also spotted Cinzano in the ninth and twelfth episode.
Cinzano is an Italian brand of vermouth, a brand owned since 1999 by Gruppo Campari.
Cinzano has a rich history: its vermouths date back to 1757. According to the book Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements by Hugh Aldersey-Williams it was the first brand advertised on a neon sign. “The world’s first neon advertising message began beaming the words CINZANO to promenaders on the Champs Elysees in 1913 …”
There are several other notes of Cinzano’s neon signs. Bruno Ulmer and Thomas Plaichinger wrote about the color of the sign in their book Les Ecritures de la nuit:
“Cinzano was inscribed in giant letters, white against a red and blue background, clearly visible from the place de l’Opéra, on the roof of a building on the boulevard Haussmann.” “Cinzano was the first to use the luminescent tubes for advertising. The name, traced in white, sparkled against a curtain of red and blue tubes near the place de l’Opéra.”
Cinzano was renowned for its advertising. In the twenties it produced posters and print adverts signed by important artists and illustrators. One of the most famous Italian historical posters was “Woman leaning on a bunch of grapes” (Cappiello, 1920).
In the 60s Cinzano refocused its communication on cinema, radio, and television. Amongst the most famous Cinzano TV ads are those featuring Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter.
In Mad Men we first saw some Cinzano logos when Peggy and Stan came on set for shooting a Cinzano ad in the ninth episode.
In the twelfth episode we saw that Peggy had some Cinzano boxes waiting for her.
Later we saw Peggy and Roger getting drunk with a bottle of Cinzano with Roger asking Peggy:
Roger: “Would you drink vermouth?”
Peggy: “Yes, I’m afraid I would.”
I’ve asked Campari whether Cinzano’s product placement in Mad Men was intentional and got the answer that it was an organic placement based on Cinzano’s historical significance.
All in all, nice product placement for an old brand. After seeing it I wanted to have a glass of Cinzano. :)