Did you know that Howard Johnson hotels still exist? Well they do — and not just on Mad Men. In addition to existing, Howard Johnson apparently has a great sense of humor: For a limited time, any visitor legally named Don Draper gets one night free at a Howard Johnson hotel.
Seriously.

The recent Mad Men episode, “Far Away Places,” featured a visit to a Howard Johnson Hotel in Plattsburgh, New York. Don Draper and his new, young wife, Megan, took a “work” trip to the orange-hued hotel, hoping for a weekend getaway.

Things didn’t work out so well. The Drapers began a fight over orange sherbet that escalated into a potentially marriage-ending blowout. Also, the pool was closed.

It is mainly this last problem that Howard Johnson now wants to address. The hotel chain put out a press release on Wednesday, April 24 to apologize for the shabby service experienced by Don Draper back in (fictional) 1966:

We’ve all been there. You plan a weekend away only to check-in to your hotel and find that a much desired amenity — the hotel pool — is closed. It’s enough to make a man mad. But, it shouldn’t have to. So, 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.

This is a real. Check it out for yourself here.

The press release goes on to quote Rui Barros, Howard Johnson brand senior vice president, as saying, “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.”

Anyone with the legal name of Don Draper (you will have to show ID) can book one free night at any of eight Howard Johnson hotels across the country. The reservation must be made by May 8, 2012 and the free night must be used by August 31, 2012. If you want to take Howard Johnson hotels up on this deal, merely call the hotel in question and request the “Don Draper rate.”

Are there any Don Drapers out there willing to take up Howard Johnson on this offer? Is it terrifying or awesome that Mad Men has directly inspired a real advertising campaign? How good is that orange sherbet anyway? Please discuss these important questions (and anything else) in the comments section below!

(Image courtesy of AMC)