Heinz introduced a limited edition retro ketchup bottle to celebrate its 140th anniversary. How could Grayling turn this into a campaign that reached multiple stakeholders which had sustained impact, rather than a one of news item?
The answer included commissioning influential street artists to incorporate the iconic Heinz Tomato Ketchup in paintings which were sold at Le Bon Marché for the benefit of a charity.
Research underpinned the strategy, and the delivery drew from traditional and digital media, as well as events and stunts, which resulted in excellent coverage, impressive recall from consumers – and didn’t cost a great deal.

140th Anniversary of the iconic Heinz Tomato Ketchup

Between April and December 2009, we helped Heinz optimize their brand awareness and market share, with only a limited budget.

Mixing traditional PR to a 360° marketing approach (commissioning paintings by the most influential Street Artists, which auctioned for charity) helped Heinz go beyond their traditional relationship with the media and consumers.

Context / Opportunity

The programme was conducted for Heinz, the group ranking among the Top 10 worldwide food industry groups, with products sold in 200 countries.

The opportunity was to use the company’s 140th anniversary to build awareness of the corporate brand and Heinz Tomato Ketchup, supporting the initiative by the introduction of temporary “retro” Tomato Ketchup bottle.

We wanted to celebrate the Heinz brand personality – a brand with character and confidence deserving a place in the consumer’s hearts and minds. The anniversary provided a good opportunity for a PR campaign, but it was not unique enough to be a news opportunity in its own right.

Our approach was articulated around two key items - there was a story to tell with the limited edition product plus another one in the Anniversary itself - and to use this 140th anniversary to implement a high profile piece of activity and secure PR and media space beyond normal campaign coverage levels.

Our challenge was to give Heinz more than two short news stories, which lead us to deliver a creative campaign they never imagined, optimizing their market share.

The challenge was that the campaign had to be suitable for roll-out to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, each country having its particularities and a distinct culture towards PR. The programme was created and implemented by Grayling France in cooperation with our teams in Belgium and the Netherlands. [This Sabre Awards entry only deals the French campaign.]

The measurable criteria to determine the campaign’s success were:
- Campaign understanding: Audit of the social and environmental context to generate meaningful insights about the category or behaviour of the.
- Audiences: Using insights to help define and profile the Planning Universe, Planning Targets and Priority Segments.
- Brand truths: Reviewing the attributes and personality of the brand and/or organisation and analysing how these fitted with our Priority Segments.
- Core Messaging: Identifying the core theme that would define how we could approach conversations with audiences, connected to the Audiences and the Brand Truths and underpinned the audience specific key messages.
- Audience Connectivity Strategy: it defined when, how and where we could deliver the messages of Heinz to reach audiences when they would be receptive to them.
This output helped us define the themes for consideration together with a rationale as evidenced through the process.

The target audiences were the core purchasers of Heinz, female shoppers aged 25-55. The task was to influence perception and brand awareness for all ketchup users. Therefore our reach went beyond the main shopper and intended to influence other family members who may influence brand choice.

Our PR messages

We defined the key PR messages according to: “Heinz, the one and only for over 140 years”.
The consumer had to think: “Heinz is a brand with personality that is synonymous with quality, heritage and expertise”.

The brand values were part of our PR messages: a creative and inspiring campaign (“Heinz inspires me to
live my life”), Art is inclusive and expressive and Artists pursue perfection – like HJ Heinz did.

The Heinz story was another PR message (a clever way to talk about it, using art icons to travel through time).

The Heinz Tomato Ketchup itself was another of the key PR messages: the retro bottle had a natural link into art and design (Limited edition Tomato ketchup, fun and trendy).

Eventually, the anniversary was a key PR message: Heinz was there 140 years ago and is still here for culinary inspiration and creativity.

Our tactics

Our tactics was to implement a 360° approach targeting all audiences:

Firstly, the media: to tell different stories, deal with the messages and enhance the media targeted
(Art, Consumer, Food, National Dailies, etc.).

Secondly: Online/Social network, to get bloggers / web communities / consumers involved in the campaign through an online application within Heinz.fr, and also linked from a charity website. Online
PR activity would also be delivered as part of this campaign to drive participation to the online

Thirdly, Consumers: we developed a special hackle in the retro bottle that covered all the actions (web contest to win the tin can + retro bottle) and a public event, i.e. an art exhibition of the Masterpieces, at the food store Le Bon Marché for a week.


The communications plan (from April to December 2009) was implemented as follows:
• Step 1: communication around the Heinz Tomato Ketchup Retro bottle edition.
• Step 2: Limited Collector edition of design. An Arty Tin Can was distributed exclusively in 1 trendy food store in Paris (La Grande Epicerie) and the collector’s item could be won on the dedicated microsite www.heinz.fr.
• Step 3: “Heinz inspires 5 famous Street artists who developed Masterpieces on the topic of Authenticity”. A public event / exhibition were set up with all the artwork (10 paintings) at Le Bon Marché & La Grande Epicerie, for 2 weeks.
• Step 4: A Charity Auction was organized, allowing the sale of famous Street Artists’ paintings during an auction at Artcurial. All benefits (7,500 €) went to the charity fundraising “SOS villages d’enfants”.

One challenge was the need to manage a number of stakeholders (in doing so, we helped Heinz products to be sold at Le Bon Marché, thus becoming a new client) and make sure we could adapt the European communication messages of Heinz to our market. We also developed a microsite for Heinz and kept it live.

Campaign’s results

We generated impressive media coverage: 50 articles, each with an average audience of 4,010,139 of print circulation, 18,741,000 of print readership and about 62,815,455 unique visitors (web audience). We had a 1:7 return on investment.

We generated 95% of positive or neutral key messages, 65% of coverage mentioned 140th anniversary and 75% of coverage the limited edition of the retro bottle.