Heinz creates ‘slowest puzzle on earth’ for those stuck at home with time on their hands

Who: Heinz Ketchup, with Rethink for creative, Starcom for media, and The Colony Project for PR.

What: An all ketchup-red puzzle, ideal for anyone with extra time (lots of extra time) to work on puzzles while staying home during the pandemic.

When & Where: The puzzles were announced Tuesday on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and 57 will be given away via a contest in the next week.

Why: Because brands like inexpensive ideas that deliver big reach by fitting seamlessly into the zeitgeist in real time (during the Oscars, for example). In this case, when most of the world has gone into slow-motion and people are looking for activities to keep them busy, good old-fashioned puzzles have become very popular.

Rethink and Heinz—which embraces slow as one of its defining brand attributes—saw a way to make a playful statement that connected that cultural trend to its ketchup. “We are always trying to find clever ways to highlight the iconic nature of Heinz and this felt like the perfect fit,” said Brian Neumann, senior brand manager, Kraft Heinz Canada.

How: By creating the “slowest puzzle on earth”—570 pieces, all of them red and with no defining characteristic except their shape. The puzzles are being given away in Canada with a simple social media based contest (May 5 to 8), where people only have to say who they would like to complete the puzzle with. A Heinz judging panel will choose the 57 winners. The puzzles are also being given out in 16 other countries around the world.

Since the pandemic started, Rethink has been talking regularly with their clients at Heinz to discuss what, if anything, they could be doing. “We agreed that we’d only do something if it was right,” said partner and creative director Mike Dubrick. “And this felt right. It made us all smile and laugh. And we all need that right now.”

“When the creative team shared it with me, I texted our client Brian right away and told him we had something. An idea like this didn’t need a deck—we jumped on a call, I shared the visual, and it told the whole story.”

Quote: “The Heinz slow pour is one of our most beloved traits. In a moment when the world has slowed down and many people have more time on their hands, we wanted to give our fans a way to pass the time, while connecting our brand equity to a contextually relevant conversation—puzzles” —Brian Neumann, senior brand manager, Kraft Heinz Canada.

David Brown