Heinz takes a stand against ‘stupid spicy’ foods in latest campaign

Heinz takes a stand against ‘stupid spicy’ foods in latest campaign

Dive Brief:

  • Heinz is taking a stance against overly spicy foods with its latest ad campaign, “Stupid Good, Not Stupid Spicy,” per details shared with Marketing Dive. The effort, launched Aug. 21, promotes Chipotle, Jalapeño and Habanero spicy ketchup flavors.
  • Inspired by pop-culture hype around unreasonably spicy foods, the campaign is meant to elevate Heinz’ products as a tasteful alternative, including via lighthearted out-of-home ads in Pittsburgh and Chicago.
  • Digital video ads will span Amazon, The Trade Desk and several social media platforms. The campaign, which runs through Sept. 10, was made in partnership with Rethink and arrives following the release of Heinz’ first-ever unified global brand platform in June.

Dive Insight:

Heinz in its latest campaign is rejecting pop culture’s current infatuation with overly spicy foods, a trend that has gained steam partly from consumers on social media who have tested their limits with such items as part of “challenges,” at times stoking health concerns, along with other cultural touchstones like the popular celebrity interview series “Hot Ones.” Instead, the marketer hopes to remind consumers that spice can been enjoyed, bringing its line of spicy ketchup products into the spotlight.

“Spiciness used to be about the combinations of flavors and spices rather than how much a food can make you sweat,” said Jacqueline Chao, senior brand manager, Heinz, in release details. “With this latest campaign, Heinz wants to remind heat seekers everywhere that they can enjoy the spice that they crave and great taste.”

To bolster its stance, Heinz is enlisting playful OOH ads that carry messages like, “Eat it for the taste, not the likes,” along with digital video assets that will be targeted to key audiences through platforms including Amazon, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and The Trade Desk. In a 15-second spot, the brand pokes fun at social media’s infatuation with heat while marketing Heinz as a no-brainer alternative. 

Additional partners for “Stupid Good, Not Stupid Spicy” include Starcom’s Publicis 57, which is handling U.S. media, and Zeno Group, which is handling public relations. More broadly, the campaign is meant to celebrate the “irrational love Heinz and their fans share for irresistible flavor experiences,” per release details, a nod to the 150-year-old brand’s first global brand platform, “It Has to be Heinz,” which was unveiled in June. The platform, developed with Wieden+Kennedy, first debuted with five vignette-style commercials and is intended to celebrate consumers who will go to “irrational” lengths to express their love for the brand. 

The new effort by Heinz is the latest to explore the brand’s expanded product offerings, often resulting in similarly playful marketing. For example, the marketer in June enlisted past viral stars like Rebecca Black to market the release of six limited-time sauces as part of its “15 Minutes of Flavor” campaign. In March, the brand teamed with Pernod Ricard brand Absolut Vodka to launch a limited-edition tomato vodka pasta sauce, which it supported on social media along with OOH ads in London.

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