“Not since 1968 has change this big swept the country.” When Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News used this to describe a story, people were likely not expecting this to be about a new ketchup package. In 2010 Heinz introduced a dual-function ketchup package, which allows dipping and squeezing of the condiment. With less than a week to plan and execute, Edelman developed a strategic communications plan that turned a new packaging design into one of the biggest new product stories of the year while generating the best ROI for any Heinz campaign to-date.
“Not since 1968 has change this big swept the country” is not an expected description of a tiny new product, and a ketchup package at that.
In early 2010, Heinz decided, with a week’s notice, that it was time to unveil their new package design, which allows dipping and squeezing three times the amount of ketchup. Since the package wouldn’t be in stores for 8 – 12 months, it would be challenging to generate media attention outside of trades, particularly with national media, so we needed to develop a strategy to be executed quickly, with impact.
Heinz Dip & Squeeze was designed based on years of consumer feedback that the current packets are small, messy and difficult to use. We knew we had to deliver the story creatively, getting media to think about the product benefits – do you dip or squeeze? – while illustrating how much easier and better the new packets would make mealtime in order to get attention.
We also wanted to leverage Heinz’s history of successful industry firsts that have changed the way we eat ketchup – plastic bottles, upside-down bottles – as a proof point that this new packaging was significant and could do the same.
Finally, since the product directly addressed consumer requests for a better package, we wanted to communicate the product news to our fans directly and leverage their excitement to show demand for the product since we couldn’t show demand by driving people to stores.
With this, we took our knowledge of what consumers wanted from a better ketchup package and made that the focus of the story. Then, through a simple strategy and creative delivery, we turned this new packaging design into one of the biggest new product stories of the year.
• Generate awareness and media coverage of Heinz Dip & Squeeze
o CPM of at least $5.00
Our target for this campaign varies by demographic. Please see below for the breakdown:
General consumers: Women and men age
18-65, US residents
Heinz customers: Quick Service Restaurant Operators that could offer Heinz Dip & Squeeze in their stores
• Reinforce Heinz Ketchup brand and heritage, leveraging the unique innovation story and category leadership
• Align the product innovation to the consumer experience, highlighting the benefits and solutions to current issues with packets
• Activate Heinz enthusiasts, particularly online, and generate interest and excitement for the product
• Launch Heinz Ketchup Facebook page and use it to share product messages, spark online conversation and demonstrate consumer excitement for the product
National Exclusive: Broke the news through a media exclusive with the Associated Press focused on the innovative design and the R&D process. Story was released the morning of 2/4/2001 and began to create online buzz and momentum, ultimately generating widespread national media pick-up.
“HEINZ KETCHUP ‘UNCAPS’ NEW DECADE” Press release issued the morning of 2/4/2010 followed by national print, broadcast and online outreach utilizing b-roll, images, spokespeople and fact sheets.
Creative Product Delivery: Simple yet impactful creative product mailer that asked people to think about whether they dipped or squeezed before unveiling that they could now do both. The product sample was incorporated into a timeline of Heinz Ketchup packaging innovations to drive home the significance. The mailers were delivered to top bloggers and media across the country, including existing Heinz enthusiasts, on launch day morning.
Digital Presence: Launched the first Facebook page for Heinz Ketchup with a tab for the new Heinz Dip & Squeeze. The tab featured details on the new product, a ‘how to’ video and photos showing the benefits of the new packet.
Brand Voices: Dave Ciesinski, Vice President of Heinz Ketchup participated in national and local media interviews.
Content: Dip & Squeeze B-roll package and product imagery provided to all media and included in multi-media press release.
Evaluation of Success
The PR campaign far exceeded expectations, generating more than 130 million impressions and a CPM of $1.10 – the best ROI for any Heinz PR campaign to date.
In a 24 hour period, the story reverberated from blogs in the morning, to large news websites, noon broadcast shows, then topped the trending polls and hit national evening news programs – garnering more than 80 million media impressions in just one day.
In total, there were over 780 placements in print, online, television, radio and QSR trade magazines from February – March 2010.
Announcements about Heinz Dip & Squeeze were highlighted on national platforms including “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” ”CNN,” “CBS Evening News,” “Good Morning America,” Time magazine and top newspapers across the country, including The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune. On launch day, Heinz Dip & Squeeze was the number two trending topic on Google.
Local market coverage included segments on more than 430 local television and radio stations across the country resulting in over 55 million broadcast impressions alone.
Overview of key message impact:
• 100% of coverage was branded
• 65% of coverage included product visuals
• 33% of coverage included a quote from Dave Ciesinski about the launch of Heinz Dip & Squeeze
Facebook and Twitter were also buzzing with the news of Heinz Dip & Squeeze. On launch day, the Heinz Ketchup Facebook page grew by 1,223 fans and there were 1,306 Tweets.
In less than one month, the fan page was at almost 60,000, with positive posts about the Dip & Squeeze coming daily.
Media used the Facebook page as a resource, citing positive consumer reactions in their stories as evidence that people wanted the product, and that Heinz Dip & Squeeze would change the way we eat ketchup in the future.