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March 20, 2024

HEINZ in Overdrive! The secret sauce behind the brands' recent success

by
Henry Hayes

Henry is the Marketer In Residence at Passionfruit. Alongside heading up the marketing department, Henry is the Chief Commuter at the Passionfruit Commuter Club, our events program that's tailor made for the brightest minds in FMCG marketing.

HEINZ in Overdrive! The secret sauce behind the brands' recent success
Table of contents

It was only a few weeks ago that I clocked a particular OOH advert as I was departing for a flight at Heathrow. It really made me chuckle… so much I took a picture of it.

But why did I actually laugh? Well only the night before was I using up items stored in my cupboard and the iconic green can in the advert above came calling. And whilst I put in a dollop of Grey Poupon wholegrain mustard into that saucy goodness (100% recommended), and lashings of Lea & Perrins, I had a genuine thought about how much I was going to miss my weekly ritual whilst i was away, Heinz Baked Beanz on Toast!

It was a marketing move made by the Gods, Heinz spoke straight to me in the space of 24 hours. It was a slam-dunk. It was almost telepathic. Maybe it was? And owing to me posting on LinkedIn just a few weeks prior about their recent ‘Is Heinz Worth The Wait?’ campaign and how simply AWESOME it was… I wanted to delve a little bit deeper into the rich tapestry of Heinz’ brand success over the past year. Here's my Starter for 10!

Embracing Digital Transformation

The #AbsolutelyHeinz campaign, a collaboration that launched in March 2023 with premium spirit brand Absolut Vodka, became a viral sensation in the UK, garnering 500 million impressions and boosting Heinz pasta sauce sales by an impressive 50%. It was an initial response to the surge of social media users seeking to try Penne alla Vodka, which became a sensation owing initially to Gigi Hadid’s TikTok video.

The limited-edition tomato vodka pasta sauce stirred up a mad-dash at multiple supermarkets in the UK and paid homage to Absolut's iconic advertising style with a Heinz twist. This campaign leveraged OOH ads, social media, and influencer marketing, utilising a combination of niche and mass marketing to encourage users to try out the new sauce.

On a more localised level, Heinz's digital transformation played off YouTube sensation Amelia Dimoldenberg’s smash hit ‘Chicken Shop Date’,  by partnering with the one and only Morley’s! This limited edition fried chicken sauce featured the Morley’s branding on the classic Heinz squeezy bottle. The collaboration, akin to iconic brand tie-ups such as Tic-Tac and Sprite or KFC and Walkers crisps, brought together two everyday brands within the same world but with distinctive offerings, and was exclusive to The Double Standard Hotel in London.

Consumer Engagement and Brand Loyalty

Heinz's most recent global campaign, "The Wait," stands as a testament to the brand's dedication to strengthening community engagement and fostering brand loyalty. The activation celebrates consumers' willingness to wait for their favourite condiment, particularly Heinz Tomato Ketchup, before indulging in their meals.

The effort, spanning film, print, digital, and contextual OOH elements, was inspired by a global Toluna survey revealing that over two-thirds of diners prefer to wait for ketchup rather than eat without it, with 55% willing to wait even longer for Heinz! The creative captures the irrational love consumers have for Heinz products, portraying the absence of a Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottle as the standout feature, making Heinz the absent hero of the story.

Heinz's engagement with its audience didn’t stop there. The brand made waves earlier in 2023 by teasing a pink ketchup, named "Kenchup," and a “Barbiecue” sauce on social media, inspired by… well, you guessed it. Although these sauces didn’t end up becoming available for purchase, the playful interaction with consumers generated significant excitement on social.

Global Reach, Local Impact:

Heinz's 'Too Good to Leave Behind' campaign exemplifies thebrand's exceptional global reach and profound local impact.The activation received accolades nationwide, not least for the impeccable delivery of its advertisement by agency Weinnen + Kennedy, which leaves a lasting impression on audiences.

The captivating imagery displayed in the OOH ads at Heathrow (as I should know!) continues to serves as a compelling visual representation of the emotional connection consumers have with the brand.

So who’s the team behind all the success?

It’s clear to see the secret behind the Heinz brand's enduring success is not just in the taste of their ketchup or the variety of their sauces; it's woven into the fabric of their leaders and creative marketing geniuses. With 21 Lions, 83 shortlists and a GOLD Lion at the 2023 Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, they must be doing something right.

Special mentions need to go to the following individuals (and of course far many more!), who have all strategised, briefed and  budgeted towards executing these multi-faceted projects.

Victoria Sjardin - Vice President of Marketing, International

Andree Fernandes - Vice President Growth International EMEA, APAC & LATAM

Thiago Sequira Rapp - Kraft Heinz Marketing & Commercial Director

Roseanna Hart - International Head of Heinz Brand & Comms

Cristina Kenz - Chief Growth Officer at The Kraft Heinz, International

Hannah Winterbourne - Senior Heinz Comms & Brand Builder Manager International

Lucy Cooke - Marketing Manager, Beanz

Rose Brierly: External Communications Manager, International

Nikki de Gier - Junior Growth Manager, Heinz New Ventures

As all of us at Passionfruit can attest, in today's rapidly evolving consumer landscape it is imperative for big FMCG brands to harness the diverse array of platforms given to them. With the emergence of Retail Media, the imminent rise of Social Commerce, and an ability for anyone to go viral with your product at any moment, anywhere, brands find themselves at a pivotal intersection of traditional and digital marketing paradigms. Leveraging this multifaceted ecosystem not only allows brands to expand their reach but also facilitates deeper engagement with diverse, often tribal, audiences.

It’s true, the world of marketing has moved on, and the FMCG brands that will succeed will stand poised to not only amplify their brand presence but also foster meaningful connections with the modern day consumer, ultimately driving sustained growth and relevance in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Heinz continues to be tapped into the world it sees…and giving us all that Big Brand Energy.

Professor Passionfruit Illustration
Table of Contents

It was only a few weeks ago that I clocked a particular OOH advert as I was departing for a flight at Heathrow. It really made me chuckle… so much I took a picture of it.

But why did I actually laugh? Well only the night before was I using up items stored in my cupboard and the iconic green can in the advert above came calling. And whilst I put in a dollop of Grey Poupon wholegrain mustard into that saucy goodness (100% recommended), and lashings of Lea & Perrins, I had a genuine thought about how much I was going to miss my weekly ritual whilst i was away, Heinz Baked Beanz on Toast!

It was a marketing move made by the Gods, Heinz spoke straight to me in the space of 24 hours. It was a slam-dunk. It was almost telepathic. Maybe it was? And owing to me posting on LinkedIn just a few weeks prior about their recent ‘Is Heinz Worth The Wait?’ campaign and how simply AWESOME it was… I wanted to delve a little bit deeper into the rich tapestry of Heinz’ brand success over the past year. Here's my Starter for 10!

Embracing Digital Transformation

The #AbsolutelyHeinz campaign, a collaboration that launched in March 2023 with premium spirit brand Absolut Vodka, became a viral sensation in the UK, garnering 500 million impressions and boosting Heinz pasta sauce sales by an impressive 50%. It was an initial response to the surge of social media users seeking to try Penne alla Vodka, which became a sensation owing initially to Gigi Hadid’s TikTok video.

The limited-edition tomato vodka pasta sauce stirred up a mad-dash at multiple supermarkets in the UK and paid homage to Absolut's iconic advertising style with a Heinz twist. This campaign leveraged OOH ads, social media, and influencer marketing, utilising a combination of niche and mass marketing to encourage users to try out the new sauce.

On a more localised level, Heinz's digital transformation played off YouTube sensation Amelia Dimoldenberg’s smash hit ‘Chicken Shop Date’,  by partnering with the one and only Morley’s! This limited edition fried chicken sauce featured the Morley’s branding on the classic Heinz squeezy bottle. The collaboration, akin to iconic brand tie-ups such as Tic-Tac and Sprite or KFC and Walkers crisps, brought together two everyday brands within the same world but with distinctive offerings, and was exclusive to The Double Standard Hotel in London.

Consumer Engagement and Brand Loyalty

Heinz's most recent global campaign, "The Wait," stands as a testament to the brand's dedication to strengthening community engagement and fostering brand loyalty. The activation celebrates consumers' willingness to wait for their favourite condiment, particularly Heinz Tomato Ketchup, before indulging in their meals.

The effort, spanning film, print, digital, and contextual OOH elements, was inspired by a global Toluna survey revealing that over two-thirds of diners prefer to wait for ketchup rather than eat without it, with 55% willing to wait even longer for Heinz! The creative captures the irrational love consumers have for Heinz products, portraying the absence of a Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottle as the standout feature, making Heinz the absent hero of the story.

Heinz's engagement with its audience didn’t stop there. The brand made waves earlier in 2023 by teasing a pink ketchup, named "Kenchup," and a “Barbiecue” sauce on social media, inspired by… well, you guessed it. Although these sauces didn’t end up becoming available for purchase, the playful interaction with consumers generated significant excitement on social.

Global Reach, Local Impact:

Heinz's 'Too Good to Leave Behind' campaign exemplifies thebrand's exceptional global reach and profound local impact.The activation received accolades nationwide, not least for the impeccable delivery of its advertisement by agency Weinnen + Kennedy, which leaves a lasting impression on audiences.

The captivating imagery displayed in the OOH ads at Heathrow (as I should know!) continues to serves as a compelling visual representation of the emotional connection consumers have with the brand.

So who’s the team behind all the success?

It’s clear to see the secret behind the Heinz brand's enduring success is not just in the taste of their ketchup or the variety of their sauces; it's woven into the fabric of their leaders and creative marketing geniuses. With 21 Lions, 83 shortlists and a GOLD Lion at the 2023 Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, they must be doing something right.

Special mentions need to go to the following individuals (and of course far many more!), who have all strategised, briefed and  budgeted towards executing these multi-faceted projects.

Victoria Sjardin - Vice President of Marketing, International

Andree Fernandes - Vice President Growth International EMEA, APAC & LATAM

Thiago Sequira Rapp - Kraft Heinz Marketing & Commercial Director

Roseanna Hart - International Head of Heinz Brand & Comms

Cristina Kenz - Chief Growth Officer at The Kraft Heinz, International

Hannah Winterbourne - Senior Heinz Comms & Brand Builder Manager International

Lucy Cooke - Marketing Manager, Beanz

Rose Brierly: External Communications Manager, International

Nikki de Gier - Junior Growth Manager, Heinz New Ventures

As all of us at Passionfruit can attest, in today's rapidly evolving consumer landscape it is imperative for big FMCG brands to harness the diverse array of platforms given to them. With the emergence of Retail Media, the imminent rise of Social Commerce, and an ability for anyone to go viral with your product at any moment, anywhere, brands find themselves at a pivotal intersection of traditional and digital marketing paradigms. Leveraging this multifaceted ecosystem not only allows brands to expand their reach but also facilitates deeper engagement with diverse, often tribal, audiences.

It’s true, the world of marketing has moved on, and the FMCG brands that will succeed will stand poised to not only amplify their brand presence but also foster meaningful connections with the modern day consumer, ultimately driving sustained growth and relevance in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Heinz continues to be tapped into the world it sees…and giving us all that Big Brand Energy.

Written by
Henry Hayes
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Professor Passionfruit Illustration

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