EZ Squirt: Kelly Stitt

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As a mom, Kelly Stitt has a lot of insight into what kids like. But when the 33-year-old H.J. Heinz Co. veteran was charged two years ago with developing ideas to build the ketchup category among its primary kid target, she went well beyond her own household to talk to more than 1,000 pint-size consumers.

Overwhelmingly, children said they wanted different colors and a bottle they could handle better with a thin stream for drawing.

Heinz's response: Heinz EZ Squirt bottles with Blastin' Green ketchup. Since its launch last October, EZ Squirt has helped grow sales of the $515 million ketchup category 8% and Heinz's share of that to an all-time high of 51.7%, says Ms. Stitt, now senior brand manager for the line. If you listen to your consumer, Ms. Stitt says, "success is inevitable."

This year, Heinz has spent $2 million on a TV campaign for EZ Squirt, via Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago. But the marketer relied completely on public relations to spark initial awareness and trial. More than 450 TV stations and 4,000 print media outlets wrote up the launch, among them high-profile venues such as NBC's "Today," CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" and The Wall Street Journal.

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