The ad campaign H.J. Heinz Co. is cranking up for its flagship ketchup isn't the long-awaited $50 million global effort that sparked a major agency review. Instead, it's a promotion pushing the ketchup's bottle.
"The bottle's back" is the theme of a summer promotion reintroducing -- for a limited time -- Heinz's classic 24-ounce glass bottle, which hasn't graced supermarket shelves since the late 1980s.
"It's a true icon," said Brand Manager Jennifer Conroy. "It has great equity, playing off childhood memories of summer fun. It's a great opportunity to get the bottle back on the table."
Although there's an undeniable camp of glass ketchup bottle loyalists, the majority of consumers prefer to give Heinz the squeeze. And that fact led the marketer to retire its 24-ounce bottle more than a decade ago.
Still, it left in place until almost three years ago its 14-ounce glass bottle. That product, used by most restaurants, accounts for fully half Heinz's ketchup sales.
The idea in bringing back the bigger bottle is to tap the nostalgic summer memories of yesteryear. Calling it the "unsung" hero, a spokeswoman said "The package makes a connection with consumers beyond its attributes of thick and rich."
So will the advertising, from Ryan Partnership, Chicago. The effort, using outdoor and radio to capture consumers while out of doors during the summer, leans heavily on nostalgia. Using the tagline, "Heinz was there," the outdoor ads picture two 1950s-era boys eating hot dogs in a ballpark.
Radio spots use the sounds of baseball bats cracking, pool water splashing, a game crowd and the cry of hot dog vendors, and call up images of town parades and high-school bands.
"Now, Heinz is bringing back the classic bottle to help bring back these memories," the voice-over says. "Right now -- at a great price -- you can get Heinz ketchup in the glass bottle just like you remember it. But you better hurry, because eventually it, too, will be just a memory."
The radio contains tags for local retailers carrying the product.
BURNETT CAMPAIGN COMING
As for the coming global effort, Heinz said it won't break until fall, a year after Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, won the pitch, and well beyond the primary summer ketchup season.
But the spokeswoman said there is no delay, saying that meeting
a summer timetable "wasn't realistic" for a global effort, which will run in parts of the world where there is no seasonality to the brand.
Although in the U.S. there is 97% household penetration of ketchup in summer, Ms. Conroy said, Heinz wants to expand consumption year-round.
The lack of advertising doesn't appear to have hurt much, either: Ms. Conroy said consumption is up 13% over the last 12 weeks and that the Heinz share is more than 50%.
Worldliness will play a part in the new glass-bottle promotion. The company is listing several "Fun Facts" on the bottle.
Among them: Ketchup is used mainly over pasta in Sweden; in the 18th century, recipes often called for ketchup and walnuts; original Heinz ketchup bottles were closed with a cork; and ketchup is found in more households than salt and