Heinz cracks down on ketchup counterfeiters with colour swatch labels 

Condiment maker creates labels that show when its ketchup bottles have been refilled with off-brand sauce, increases usage among street food vendors 24%

In March 2023, Heinz Ketchup identified the exact shade of Pantone red of Heinz Tomato Ketchup and added it to the labels of its condiment bottles in Turkey. 

The red was added to the border of the label to help people detect if they’re being served authentic Heinz Ketchup. Heinz also launched an Instagram filter for verification – if the label doesn’t match the sauce in the bottle, it’s not the original Heinz.

Is That Heinz? was created with Wunderman Thompson Turkey, Istanbul.

The campaign launched on social media with images showing imposter Heinz Ketchup being served at restaurants across Turkey asking, ‘Is That Heinz?’ Bottles with the new labels were distributed to different restaurants across the country.

Results / According to the agency, 97% of consumers were able to discern real Heinz ketchup from imitations, which resulted in a 73% decrease in non-Heinz ketchup refills and a 24% increase in Heinz ketchup usage in street food restaurants.

Contagious Insight 

Power to the people / Heinz Ketchup put pressure on Turkish restaurants to purchase and stock authentic Heinz by getting customers to call them out. When we spoke with Mike Dubrick, chief creative officer at Canadian agency Rethink, about Heinz Ketchup’s Ketchup Fraud campaign, he said: ‘Consumer demand is really what drives interest for restaurants to carry the product, and Ketchup Fraud finds a way to create consumer demand in the eyes of the restaurateurs, so that these business owners see the value of the Heinz brand and not just ketchup as a commodity.’ By giving restaurant-goers a fun and PR-able tool to detect Heinz Ketchup imposters, restaurants have nowhere to hide. The initiative empowers people to search for authentic Heinz Ketchup, increasing its value and urging restaurants to fill their ketchup bottles with the real deal.

Fun and games / In our Heinz Ketchup Brand Spotlight, Dubrick told us, ‘The challenge is [to prevent] Heinz going from an iconic brand to fading into old fashioned nostalgia. We really want to make sure we don’t become a brand you remember from being a kid. We want to be relevant for people now and today.’ He adds, ‘If you don’t act like an icon, then that status slowly erodes over time.’ Heinz masters the art of staying relevant by motivating its fans to have fun and engage with the brand. It demonstrates its confidence through campaigns like Tip for Heinz, Heinz Hidden Spots and Draw Ketchup, which are built on people’s love for the brand – and Is That Heinz? is no exception. Here, rather than communicating directly with Turkish restaurants, Heinz flashes its icon status by using the customers themselves to show restaurant owners that they can’t fool Heinz fans when it comes to ketchup.

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