‘Smack for Heinz’ billboards dispense ketchup outside Chicago eateries that don’t serve it

Rethink campaign targets hot dog stand The Wieners Circle as well as McDonald’s at Navy Pier

Published On
Apr 02, 2024
A man standing next to a Smack for Heinz billboard dispenser

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Chicagoans are famously averse to putting ketchup on hot dogs, with some restaurants declining to serve the condiment altogether. Now, Heinz is punching back with billboards launching today that dispense ketchup packets outside well-known Chicago hot dog stands.

The pop-up billboards, designed by agency Rethink, are going up next to The Wieners Circle and by the McDonald’s at Navy Pier. (The fast-food chain ended a 40-year partnership with Heinz a decade ago.) The campaign video below was shot next to Superdawg Drive-in, but that eatery is not the target of its own billboard.

The campaign is called “Smack for Heinz,” which has a double meaning—you smack a ketchup bottle to get the packets, and the campaign also playfully smacks restaurants for holding out on Heinz.


QR codes on the boards lead to smackforheinz.com, where consumers can reports other restaurants for not serving Heinz. Billboards are also expected to pop up in other cities. Paid media driving to the campaign includes digital OOH, TikTok and Instagram ads.

“The bottle smack is a universal symbol of the world’s love for Heinz,” said Geoff Baillie, creative director at Rethink. “Knowing there are restaurants all over the world who refuse to serve Heinz, we turned the Heinz smack into a way of helping people let out their frustration, and get the ketchup they want.”

A man smacking a Heinz billboard

“One of the most consistent ways Heinz fans show their irrational love for our ketchup is their utter devastation and frustration when a restaurant doesn’t offer it,” said  Lizzy Goodman, brand communications manager. “Underscoring our global creative platform, ‘Smack for Heinz’ not only combats this frequent ketchup catastrophe, but also demonstrates to non-Heinz restaurants everywhere the lengths our fans will go to because ‘It has to be Heinz.”

Other agencies that worked on the campaign include Carat for paid media, The Kitchen for social media and Zeno Group for PR.

Heinz has trolled Chicago before for its anti-ketchup leanings, introducing a supposedly new product in 2017 called “Chicago Dog Sauce”—which was really just plain Heinz ketchup.

A man smacking a Heinz billboard


Apr 02, 2024
Client :
Heinz Ketchup
Client :
Agency :
Head of Brand Comms :
Nina Patel
Director Brand Comms :
Megan Lang
Sr. Brand Manager :
Jacqueline Chao
Brand Manager :
Lizzy Goodman
Director of External Communications & PR :
Jenna Thornton
Manager Brand PR & Media Relations :
Alexandra Lieberman
Aaron Starkman
Mike Dubrick
Daniel Lobaton
Sean McDonald
Executive Creative Director :
Xavier Blais
Creative Director :
Zachary Bautista
Creative Director :
Geoff Baillie
Writer :
Geoff Baillie
Art Director :
Zachary Bautista
Head of Strategy :
Julian Morgan
Strategist :
Emma Bayfield
Director of Integrated Content :
AJ Merrick
Director of Broadcast Production :
Shelby Spigelman
Director of Integrated Content :
Todd Harrison
Producer :
Terri Winter
Producer :
Kyle Hicks
Producer :
Tricia Lapidario
Production Company :
Mt Vernon Entertainment
Executive Producer :
Ken Franchi
Line Producer :
Ken Franchi
Post Production :
R+D Post
Editor :
Leigh O'Neill
Editor :
Thais Maranho
Colorist :
Hardave Grewal
Online/Motion Graphics :
Hardave Grewal
Sound Engineer :
Aaron McCourt
Post Production Supervisor :
Shannon Ing
Production Company :
Fuze Reps
Photographer :
Adrian Armstrong
Studio :
Todd Bennett
Studio :
Carl DeVouge
Production Fabrication :
Group Business Lead :
Adam Ball
Group Account Director :
Rob Dix
Account Director :
David Greisman
Account Director :
Lindsay Magrane
Account Supervisor :
Rachel Cloth
Account Manager :
Bhumika Baweja
Media :
VP Planning :
Sean Cooray
Associate Director :
Nicole Tarazona
Senior Manager :
Micahya Byrd
Senior Associate :
Elizabeth Schueler
Senior Social Strategist :
Yalin Kaya
Account Director :
Marco Cianfagna
Social Media Manager :
Benjamin Badiuk
Communications :
Zeno Group
Head Foodie :
Missy Maher
EVP Media :
Courtney Pischke
VP :
Alysa Winkler
Bethany Roth
AS :
Veronica Smith
Amelia Bogert
AE :
Lulu Saias

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