A very drawn-out campaign for Heinz ketchup

Who: Kraft Heinz, with Rethink for creative and strategy, Carat for media and Colony Project for PR.

What: “Draw Ketchup,” a campaign built around the claim that because of the brand’s popularity, people instinctively draw Heinz bottles when asked to “draw ketchup.”

When & Where: The campaign just launched, and is digitally led with some outdoor. An online component asks people to submit their own drawings of ketchup until Jan. 31 for a chance to win prizes. The winners will announced early next month.

Why: If the idea of the campaign is that the brand is so top-of-mind that people automatically equate it to the product category, why do you need to tell people it is top of mind?

“If you’re an iconic brand, it’s important to demonstrate that in a relevant, contemporary way,” said Mike Dubrick, executive creative director at Rethink. “If left alone, that iconic equity can slowly erode into old-fashioned nostalgia. It’s not just about being recognizable, it’s why the brand is recognizable. It’s that underlying love for Heinz that truly makes it iconic, and that’s what this campaign really wants to celebrate.”

How: This is another Kraft Heinz campaign that blurs the lines between PR and advertising. In this case, the drawings of Heinz bottles are being used to create the kind of smile-inducing advertising that gets shared online, complemented by outdoor executions to generate additional word of mouth.

The biggest shareable element is a video of people from around the world asked to draw ketchup. The unusual request at first elicits confusion, before respondents pick up their coloured pencils and markers to do their best. The video ends with many different drawings of Heinz ketchup (except for one person, who inexplicably drew mustard).

Heinz said the drawings will be used for billboards and labels on limited-edition bottles. People who submit their drawings to the site DrawKetchup.ca will have a chance to win one 250 custom bottles featuring their drawing.

The campaign sticks to Kraft Heinz’s recent marketing script of doing or creating things that can break into popular culture. “And whether it’s big and iconic outdoor, or creating DrawKetchup.ca, where consumers can draw their own label and get it on a custom bottle, the work is all meant to be talked about and breakthrough in a noisy market,” said Dubrick.

And we quote: “We wanted to uncover that instinctual and intuitive association consumers have between ketchup and Heinz. We know our fans are extremely passionate about Heinz Ketchup, so we are excited to give them the chance to celebrate their love for the brand by offering them an opportunity to bring their drawings to life on personalized bottles.” — Daniel Gotlib, associate director, brand-building and innovation, Kraft Heinz Canada

David Brown