Tomato sauce brand Heinz is perhaps the most iconic tomato ketchup company on the market. Proving their impact across the globe, in 2021 they created the ‘Draw Ketchup’ campaign, which asked consumers to draw what ketchup looks like to them, with everyone picking the same brand: Heinz. That campaign was so great it even won a Commendation at LBB’s 2021 Immortal Awards. Now, in a brand new campaign, Heinz partners with marketing communications agency Wunderman Thompson Spain to take out a full-page spread in The Guardian newspaper, apologising to the British public for being 150 years late to the pasta sauce party. Launching seven brand new sauces, Heinz was adamant to show that their products are the bee's knees, because, as they say, “nothing so ridiculously good, has come so ridiculously late.”
Alongside the full page newspaper spread, the new Heinz campaign features a giant billboard in London's Leicester Square, social media assets and digital content. Playing on the popularity of the brand in the UK, the campaign taps into the humorous side of advertising that resonates so well with the British public.
Wunderman Thompson Spain’s ECD’s Paco Badia and Pipo Virgos, creative director Gloria Hernandez, and copywriters Estel Ladra and Albert Xifra told LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about working on the spot.
LBB> What was the client’s initial brief and vision for the campaign?
Paco> The Heinz New Ventures team wanted to launch a Heinz Pasta Sauce in the UK based on the brand’s tomato expertise and its natural ingredients, so we had to make the product stand out in a very cluttered category.
LBB> Talk us through the creative process and why you landed on using humour for Heinz’s new launch?
Paco> The creative process started earlier than usual because the client offered us the opportunity to re-think the product’s packaging, so we made a few decisions such as bringing the ingredients to the fore and simplifying the design in order to let the products and brand speak for itself. We wanted the packaging to feel timeless, as if it had always been there, which inspired some of the communications around the product.
When we started thinking about the launch campaign, we realised Heinz had never released a pasta sauce in the UK before. This changed everything. A brand that’s most famous for its tomato-based products had never launched one of the most popular tomato-based sauces, a Bolognese. We wanted to hang the campaign on this truth and, in keeping with Heinz’s witty tone of voice and reinforcing their tomato expertise, decided to apologise to the British public for not giving them the pasta sauce they deserve, until now. We knew irony was the best way to touch the hearts of the brand’s fans, so that’s how we came up with the concept ‘Ridiculously late. Ridiculously good’.
LBB> The minimal yet striking ads mean you’re drawn to looking at the products being showcased. How did you achieve this look?
Paco> As we designed the packaging ourselves, we knew how we wanted to portray it in each execution, from POS to OOH. This drove us to create a unique visual code for the campaign that was easily transferrable to all the different formats. We wanted to deliver a very honest message so we wanted to remove any additional layers that would distract from this, as well as showcase the brand’s self-confidence through the product and their ingredients, so we used a minimal photographic set and natural lighting.
LBB> Let’s talk about the copy, it’s bold, visually striking yet also very funny and shows a brand that’s not taking itself too seriously. What was the process behind crafting the copy for the campaign?
Estel & Albert> As a copywriter, you don’t often get the chance to talk about products as something absurd, so when you work with a brand that is happy to make fun of themselves, it’s easy to find a way to write about the product in an ironic way. In fact, this was the first time we’ve ever been able to say the product is ridiculous, and that it’s late to market. We had a lot of fun crafting the copy – the better the product was, the more ridiculous it seemed, because it launched so late. That allowed us to communicate the benefits of the product in a different way.
LBB> The campaign imagery launched in newspapers and across a Leicester Square billboard. Was there anything you kept in mind when creating for these specific mediums?
Gloria> Thinking about the media is the best way to bring out the full potential of creativity. The print ad in The Guardian allowed us to write a letter, which was a very personal way of talking to our consumers and gave us space to communicate everything we wanted about the product. Above all, it gave us the chance to clearly establish the witty tone of the campaign. On the billboard, on the other hand, we knew that many people were going to see it, so we had to capture their attention quickly with a direct message that impacted the audience.
LBB> What was it like working with Heinz on this campaign?
Gloria> It’s been a long process, but a great collaboration between us and Heinz. First, we came up with the concept and tone of voice, and went through several iterations before we had clearly drawn the architecture of the campaign and refined all of the messaging.
LBB> Were there any challenges when it came to crafting the campaign and can you tell us about them?
Pipo> With TV, press, digital media, the campaign has many touchpoints with a variety of messages focusing on the brand or product, so the biggest challenge was crafting each of them one by one. Each execution was different and had an important role to play, and we wanted to ensure all of the campaign elements, from typography and photographs to animations, were perfectly finished to maintain the tone and identity of the brand.
LBB> What has the reaction been like so far and were there any particularly surprising responses that you heard?
Pipo> It’s too early to say, but Heinz is a brand with real fans and their reaction has been great, particularly on Instagram where we’ve seen a lot of positive comments. It’s been well received in our industry, and we’ve had feedback that it feels like a classic campaign which is a great compliment.