This is a cool marketing ploy by French’s

Not so long ago, Heinz gave us Cold Ketchup. Not to be outdone, its biggest rival in the Canadian ketchup wars is giving us the coldest ketchup.

This week, French’s Ketchup announced the “Frenchsicle,” a ketchup-flavoured frozen treat (?) to help usher in the summer season. The program was led by Toronto PR agency North Strategic, with support from the branding and design agency Bridgemark, and McCormick’s in-house creative and studio teams.

The Frenchsicles were made in collaboration with Happy Pops, a Toronto company specializing in all-natural ice pops. On its website, Happy Pops described the Frenchsicles as tasting like a Caesar, featuring a “perfect mix of sweet and savoury.”

French’s is giving away the Frenchsicles this week in Vancouver, Toronto and, pointedly, Leamington, Ont. The southwestern Ontario agricultural town, known as the “Tomato capital of Canada,” (it even has the big tomato to prove it) which is the source of all the tomatoes used in French’s Ketchup.

It was also the home of Heinz Ketchup’s Canadian processing plant for more than 100 years before the company controversially closed the factory in 2013 and moved production to the U.S., before returning to Canada last year, with a plant in Montreal.

In a frenzy of patriotic fervour usually reserved for sporting events, many Canadians proclaimed at the time that they were done with Heinz, and French’s was a key beneficiary of that outrage.

Even though it is owned by Baltimore-based McCormick & Company, French’s has made the “Canadian-ness” of its ketchup a key plank of its communications, repeatedly pointing out that its condiment is made with 100% Canadian tomatoes.

French’s is also sending packages to key influencers and media, including Romeo Eats, a popular Instagram channel featuring the son of one of the members of Canadian band Walk Off the Earth. The brand sent the youngster, whose channel boasts more than 32,000 followers, a box of the Frenchsicles to review.

The Frenchsicles are being dispensed to consumers through branded bikes and carts, and each package features a Snapcode that unlocks a custom Snapchat lens. The company has also created a hashtag #Frenchsicle in an attempt to get some social traction.

But is it a fruit or vegetable popsicle?

Chris Powell