No one wants to disappoint Don Draper.
The Howard Johnson hotel chain is trying to make amends for fictionally failing the inscrutable ad man in this week's episode of "Mad Men." When Draper and new wife Megan (Jon Hamm and Jessica Paré) jaunted upstate to mix work with pleasure at a trendy 1960s HoJo, potty training gone awry put the pool off limits. While it wasn't a huge inconvenience for the feuding couple, it's a nice hook for today's marketing team.
"To the Don Drapers of the world, the Howard Johnson hotel brand would like to say this: We're sorry and your next stay is on us," the company said in announcing a "Mad Men"-inspired promotion.
Guests with the legal name Don Draper (ahem, the "real" Don Draper might not qualify) can book a free one-night stay now through May 8 for stays completed by August 31 at one of eight Howard Johnson locations. Don Drapers, just ask for the "Don Draper" rate; guests will be required to show ID at check-in.
"At Howard Johnson hotels, our owners strive to give each and every guest a great stay, one that creates the same happy-filled memories that the brand's legacy is built upon," said Senior Vice President Rui Barros in a statement. "Unfortunately, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. This is our way of showing Mr. Draper that we value him as a guest and hope to welcome him back soon."
It's unlikely the promotion will clean out the hotel chain. An admittedly unscientific quest for "Donald Draper" on an Internet people-search engine netted 249 names in the United States.
The participating hotels are the Howard Johnson Plaza Anaheim Resort and the Howard Johnson Inn San Diego Sea World in California; the Howard Johnson Inn Mystic in Mystic, Connecticut; the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel -- Miami Airport in Florida; the Howard Johnson Plaza in Portland, Maine; the Howard Johnson Toms River in New Jersey; the Howard Johnson Rapid City in South Dakota and the Howard Johnson Express Inn near Arlington Ballpark and Six Flags in Arlington, Texas.
The orange sherbet is on you, Drapers, and word to the wise: Don't drive off without your wife.