Patrick Mahomes lays it on thick in Hunt's ketchup social ads
Tomato products brand Hunt’s is boosting its social media presence this week with Patrick Mahomes, the ketchup-loving NFL star, in the hopes he can convince others to act like him and put ketchup on pretty much any food.
Hunt’s snagged Patrick Mahomes as a brand ambassador in December, beating out larger rival Heinz for the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback's attention after the news surfaced that the NFL star is a major ketchup fan. Now, as football season gets underway, Hunt’s is stepping up its social media messaging with two new ads highlighting Mahomes.
The ads promote Hunt’s Best Ever ketchup, a name some longtime fans of the brand have taken issue with since the condiment's April debut, saying they miss the old version.
“I used to eat ketchup sandwiches when I was a little kid, like three or four years old, just ketchup and bread,” Mahomes said in April in a phone call from Nashville, where he was attending the NFL draft and shooting spots with Hunt’s. “I‘ve loved ketchup my whole entire life, and it’s something that has kind of been a part of me, and now it’s part of my brand and who I am.”
One of the ads for Hunt’s plays off Mahomes’ real-life usage of ketchup.
“I’ve gotten ketchup for birthday presents, I’ve gotten ketchup for all types of different things, and no matter where I am, I always have the waiter or waitress give me some ketchup,” he said in April.
In the “Best Ever Sommelier” spots (there are 15-second and 30-second versions), Mahomes is served a fancy burger and fries and then gets a bottle of the ketchup, much like someone else would get a bottle of wine, even sniffing the red stuff before having it squirted onto his burger.
In the “Ketching up with Patrick Mahomes” ad—a title that was likely inevitable—Mahomes is preparing steak and macaroni and cheese, two of his favorite meals, and then adding a flourish of ketchup to the plate.
In real life, Mahomes likely wouldn’t be seen preparing the dishes, though the featured fare rings true.
“I don’t really cook a lot. If I have to cook I usually just go get something from Chick-fil-A or something,” Mahomes said. “My favorite thing to eat is definitely steak. I love steak. I try not to eat too much of it because you don’t need that much red meat, but at the same time, I love to get a steak probably about once a week.”
Hunt’s overhauled its ketchup in April, bringing out Hunt’s Best Ever, a version it says is thicker and richer than earlier versions of Hunt’s ketchups. The updated Hunt's ketchup is one of a number of new items being introduced by food marketer Conagra Brands.
“It is truly a better flavor to me. The richness of it is definitely something that I like a lot,” Mahomes said in April.
Some other longtime fans of the condiment disagree, however, saying they are not fans of the new recipe. “I have used your ketchup since I was a child. I am 63 now, and you have lost me as a customer. The new recipe sucks!” one person wrote on the company’s Facebook page. Others commented that the new bottle is more difficult to squeeze.
“We saw questions and comments from consumers who were disappointed that we discontinued the previous version of our 100% natural ketchup earlier this year,” Conagra said. “This work, and the social copy that will accompany it, emphasizes that our new ketchup is also 100% natural, made with no high fructose corn syrup.”
The ads are set to begin running on Thursday, on Hunt’s social media channels including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Mahomes is also set to post the ads to his social channels.
Heinz, meanwhile, is busy promoting its ketchup with its own celebrity fan, British singer Ed Sheeran, who enjoys the condiment so much he has a tattoo of its bottle on his arm.