Heinz Ketchup is naturally ‘camera ready’ in food stylist campaign 

Condiment brand invites food stylists to divulge tricks of the trade and show that its ketchup doesn't need any manipulation to look appealing

Heinz Ketchup US has released a social experiment-style video where several food stylists reveal their tips and tricks for making food look visually appealing in advertising. When asked which ingredients don’t need artificial sprucing to appear tasty, all agree on one – Heinz Ketchup.

In the minute-long Heinz Unfakeable ad, launched on 11 April 2024, each professional food stylist provides behind-the-scenes commentary of the surprising hacks used to make various ingredients pop on camera. Pizzas are made to look cheesier with glue, strawberries riper with red nail polish, and burgers grilled to perfection using brown shoe polish.

Heinz then anonymously asked the food stylists if there is ‘anything that isn’t fake’, and each replied, ‘Heinz Ketchup’. ‘It’s something you don’t have to manipulate’, said one; ‘Heinz, that’s it. It’s as simple as that,’ said another.

The campaign, created by the agency Rethink Toronto, is being promoted on TikTok and Instagram and through OLV on YouTube.

Contagious Insight 

TikTok on the Clock / In our Heinz Ketchup Brand Spotlight, VP of the global Heinz brand Nina Patel told Contagious that the brand prioritises working quickly to get ideas out into the world. ‘The amount of hours that we weren’t spending on perfecting the deck, we put all of that energy and all of those hours into creating work at the speed of culture,’ she said. Heinz Unfakeable is another great example, with the brand ensuring the campaign launched while food styling videos were a trend on TikTok – there are more than 75,000+ videos on the subject. By getting this idea out into the market while there was still an appetite for this content, Heinz has generated 13.5 million views on its TikTok video and almost a million on YouTube in just two weeks.

Speed was also crucial to ensure Heinz wasn’t pipped to the post by another brand with a similar idea; Rethink’s CCO Mike Dubrick said on stage at Most Contagious New York 2023 that, in 2021, while the brand was discussing the legalities of using the slogans of other brands to promote Heinz, KFC South Africa executed on the idea first. Heinz didn’t make the same mistake: when AI image generators were a buzz in 2022 it turned around its A.I. Ketchup campaign in just a week (read more about the campaign here).

One way mirror / Heinz Unfakeable is the latest Heinz social experiment that reinforces the quality and distinctive assets of its signature sauce. In calling upon leading stylists in the food photography industry to candidly talk about how to make food look irresistible, Heinz defers to the experts – and it means so much more when every one of them calls out Heinz as being perfect the way it is. It’s not the brand relaying a message of quality to the audience watching, but an impartial and authentic third party.

Brand communications manager at Heinz, Lizzy Goodman, said in the campaign’s press release: ‘In a world where seeing is becoming harder to believe, we’re proud to say our ketchup is one ingredient that will always remain “Unfakeable”. Our latest campaign pulls back the curtain on the food styling industry to prove that nothing beats the unmistakable quality of Heinz because to get the perfect shot, “It Has to be Heinz.”’

The original social experiment-styled campaign from Heinz was the widely popular Draw Ketchup initiative from 2021, when people all over the globe were asked to draw ketchup without any mention of a brand and virtually everyone drew bottles featuring the unmistakable distinctive assets of Heinz. You can read more about the Gold winning campaign in Creative Effectiveness at Cannes 2023 here.

This article was downloaded from the Contagious intelligence platform. If you are not yet a member and would like access to 11,000+ campaigns, trends and interviews, email [email protected] or visit contagious.com to learn more.