Will the Rolling Stones “sell out”?
That was the question presented on last night’s (April 1st) episode of AMC’s hit show Mad Men, thanks to a proposition from the Heinz Company. When a Heinz executive envisions “Time Is On My Side” reworked as “Heinz Is On My Side” as a jingle for baked beans, leading man Don Draper and foot-in-mouth sidekick Harry Crane head backstage at a summer of ’66 era Rolling Stones concert to meet with the band and its infamous manager, Allen Klein. Mad Men is no stranger to British Invasion bands, with Don taking his daughter Sally to the Beatles famous 1965 Shea Stadium show, and the Stones’ “Satisfaction” being used in season four episode “Summer Man.”
The ad men are hopeful, though Crane says Klein sounds “greedy” — an accurate description, as later evidenced by the ABKCO founder’s acquisition of the rights to all pre-1971 Stones songs in an ugly legal battle with the band. But the Stones did do a jingle for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies in England in 1963. Once a sellout, always a sellout, Draper seems to think.
The real-life problem with this plan: “Time Is On My Side” was not written by the Rolling Stones! Mick and Keith found the song on a 1963 jazz record by Kai Winding and His Orchestra, written by Jerry Ragovoy and Jimmy Norman.
The star appeal for Heinz is, of course, the Rolling Stones, so perhaps more important than the song itself is the superstar band. If so, the legal use of “Time Is On My Side” could be just another phone call away… but were the Stones…and more importantly, Klein, who ruled the band’s financial world with an iron fist – interested?
While Don’s busy playing the uptight father figure by questioning a wannabe Stones groupie about her fascination with guitarist Brian Jones, Crane smokes pot and accidentally signs the opening act, Providence Rhode Island’s The Trade Winds (who actually did tour with the Stones in 1966), to a jingle deal with Heinz. Just another mess for Draper to clean up, with plans to convince Heinz that the Trade Winds will be a better fit for a commercial. Because nothing sells baked beans like a band whose ratio of minor hits to name changes is about equal.
Perhaps The Who would make a better fit for the jingle. After all, the English band included a brief track (albeit a parody) called “Heinz Baked Beans” on its aptly-titled 1967 album, The Who Sell Out.
The Who always had a thing for baked beans, part of the traditional English Breakfast. Here’s the lovely Ann Margaret as Tommy’s Mum:
What do you think? Would the Stones have shilled baked beans with a Heinz jingle? Sound off in the comments below.
–Jillian Mapes, CBS Local