When advertising gets carried away

April 02, 2012

Heinz advertises their new on-the-go packaging on the label of their ketchup bottles, but is cleverness is useless without solid execution.

Just a week or so ago, skimming the shelves and shoppers in a Ralph's supermarket - on the same day they announced the end of double couponing - a product stopped us in my tracks.

A staple in fact. Heinz ketchup.

What was different about this package was the blatant advert on the label. Instead of the typical label - this one was an ad for the brand's new "dip & squeeze" individual portion packages. The headline "On the go?" was obviously intended to attract those shoppers who are looking for a more convenient package (for those who don't keep the extras typically in the bag with take-out or fast food burgers or fries!).

Yes, it is true and infamous when Heinz pulled off a coup with their green ketchup in 2000. After a brief bump in sales the success was followed by the confusing and less than sales stimulating purple, pink, orange, teal and blue versions; which were discontinued about five years later. There was even a mystery label scheme where you had no idea what color ketchup was inside. Moms just loved that one, as kids wanted to collect all the colors - which left little room on the fridge door for other condiments.

Gimmicks are cute and may win PR and awards. But back at Ralph's, this new 10 pack "On the go?" package was no where to be found. Asking a grocery clerk was useless as he had no idea what we was talking about - even though we pointed out the the label. Execution is the key to success, not just a clever idea.