What a load of ketchup

Ever been curious about what it was like to use the web during the days of dial-up internet? Well now you can thanks to a new promotion from Kraft Heinz Canada.

In the latest in a series of attention-getting tactics for its Heinz Ketchup brand, the company is testing users’ patience with a new website, Heinz.ca, featuring a ridiculously long load time of 57 minutes. People willing to wait it out will be rewarded for their patience by being invited to fill out a form to claim a free bottle of Heinz Ketchup, with bottles going to the first 157 people.

It’s yet another creative execution highlighting Heinz Ketchup’s famous “slow pour,” a trait common to all ketchups but one that Heinz has claimed ownership of over the decades.

It comes after last year’s slow jigsaw puzzle comprised of nothing but red pieces, and years and years and years of advertising (how you doin’ Matt Le Blanc?) that turned the pour into a brand attribute rather than a liability.

Ketchup is among a group of non-Newtonian fluids, which don’t follow the same rules as liquids like water. In ketchup’s case, its viscosity—defined as a measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow—can change depending on how hard, how long and how fast force is applied to it, which explains the phenomenon that one writer has described as “the all or nothing ketchup quandry.”

Daniel Gotlib, associate director of brand building and innovation at Kraft Heinz Canada, says that the stunt is part of the brand’s efforts to find “unique and engaging” tactics that connect distinctive brand traits, such as the slow pour, with relatable consumer experiences.

According to research by Littledata, the average load time for a full desktop page in 2020 was 4.5 seconds, with anything more than seven seconds putting a site among the worst 20% on the web. Bounce rates for sites skyrocket the longer a page takes to load, with research suggesting that one in four visitors will abandon any site that takes more than four seconds. Even a one second delay, it found, can reduce consumer satisfaction by 16%.

It’s a good thing, then, that Canadians are generally regarded as patient people.

Chris Powell