The Heinz Ketchup campaign featuring Carly Simon's song "Anticipation" is a classic example of a perfect harmony between product marketing and popular culture. Launched in the 1970s, this campaign used the hit song to underline the thick, rich texture of Heinz Ketchup, emphasizing that good things - like Heinz Ketchup pouring out of the bottle - are worth waiting for. The choice of Carly Simon's "Anticipation" was inspired, as the song was already popular and its lyrics resonated well with the message Heinz wanted to convey.
The results of the campaign were phenomenal. It not only cemented Heinz's brand identity as a premium product but also showcased the power of combining popular music with advertising. The slow pour of the ketchup, accompanied by the tune, created a memorable and enduring image in the minds of consumers. This campaign was so successful that it ran for years and is still thought of as one of the most iconic advertising campaigns.
The Heinz Ketchup "Anticipation" campaign is a case study in marketing excellence - which is why, I guess, that Heinz is trying to recreate that success by launching its new campaign the Slowmaster 57. Hard to believe, but it’s - according to the company - the first ketchup racetrack. Adam Driver and the rest of the cast of Ferrari have nothing to worry about! The Slowmaster is inspired by - again according to the company - a machine that’s in every Heinz ketchup factory across the world that evaluates the thickness and consistency of every batch of their ketchup. Machines like this, by the way, as this one is described, are used in just about every food manufacturing facility to verify quality control. So, for this Heinz faux Grand Pix, they have developed a miniature model of the “quantifier” machine where consumers can run their own slowness test. It’s like a game, Heinz says, with a ramp built at a gradient of 45 degrees over a 20 centimeter track - that’s just a little over 7 inches, and measures the speed of the ketchup - which by the way cannot exceed 0.028 miles per hour - the maximum speed allowed to qualify to be Heinz ketchup. Limited editions of the “speedway” are available on e-commerce sites and gaming cafes. To me it looks like a slide from a Barbie set - just red instead of pink…Seems to me it’s an instance of yet another brand manager or PR person who just doesn’t get it. Yes, they will get some publicity - after all we are talking about it - BUT the difference between this campaign and “Anticipation” is about emotion and having a mouth watering image on screen. Watching the TV spot made me - and millions of others - yearn for Heinz ketchup. This campaign has no emotion, nothing hoodlike, and the idea of pouring ketchup down a slide is just silly, unappetizing and makes a mess for someone to clean up. Oh wait, remember the spike you had from a random shot of Time’s Woman of the Year combining ketchup and ranch dressing at a football game? Emotion, humanity, taste - that sells ketchup, not a plastic ramp. Throw away the Slowmaster and bring back Carly Simon if you want to increase sales and desire in a rather boring category.
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