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June 2009

Heinz Ketchup Still Tops For "Every Hot Dog Story..."

While downing my cereal this morning, I was surprised to see a replay of the old 1985 Heinz ketchup commercial. Played to the tune of Cole Porter's "You're the Top", the commercial shows why Heinz ketchup is still the King of the condiment aisle.

The ad made me stop in my tracks and, for a moment, I was able to leave the world behind and relive my fond childhood memories of family dinners and BBQ's.

Heinz ketchup is a brand that has been able to reach and maintain iconic status. When I eat french fries, hot dogs or hamburgers...I don't just reach for any ketchup. I reach for Heinz.

The brand is celebrating 100 years of success in Canada, and is on the hunt for the fan of the century. Ketchup lovers are invited to submit stories online of why they think they qualify as the fan of the century. Fun facts and the chance to win instant prizes are also part of the contest website.

What is it about Heinz ketchup that helps it achieve such iconic status?

1) It's a great product. No matter where you go in the world, if they serve you Heinz ketchup you know it will have the same great taste

2) The brand tells a story. It brings back fond memories of family BBQ's, of the culture from which we come...of community events surrounded in good fun and well-being. Heinz has capitalized on the ability of its brand story to transport us to a different place and time

3) It has set the standard for quality in the market. I refuse to buy any other ketchup than Heinz

4) The ability to keep up with the times through an effective combination of music, advertising and technology. The ads are entertaining, and the company combines print and interactive campaigns in rather innovative ways

What are your memories of Heinz ketchup? What else has Heinz done to make it such an iconic brand? What stories do you relive by using Heinz ketchup?

Wal-Mart And Kraft Use Logos To Soften Their Stories

Wmlogo In an effort to "soften" their image in the mind of the consumer, both Wal-Mart and Kraft have redesigned their logos. The old logos were both upper case, and gave consumers the impression of old world dominance and authority. In the world of corporate rebranding, it's now more important to appear friendly and approachable to consumers in an effort to suit the demands of an increasingly complex marketplace. To do this, major corporations will continue to rewrite their stories through the use of branding and visual design. 

When undergoing a change to logo design,the use of colour, image and typestyle can greatly strengthen the perception of a brand. The new Wal-Mart logo uses lower case letters and incorporates a bright yellow sun into the design. The tagline "Save money. Live better." addresses the need for consumers to adjust their lifestyle to reflect the changes brought out by the current recession. It seems that, through changes in their logo design, Wal-Mart wants to give the impression that they understand what we're going through. Instead of being the big bad guy on the block, they want to show that they're ready to be your friend in an unrelentingly difficult economy.

Kraft has taken a similar approach, and has dropped the old upper case hardened logo for a "softer" lower case version. It also incorporates a "smiley face" that explodes into a burst of colour. The word "foods" has been added to the logo, and the tagline "Make today delicious" addresses the ability of the brand to make us feel good - after all, in a world that's becoming increasingly complex,what food doesn't?


As someone who grew up in a consumer world riddled with corporate dominance, I find it interesting that large corporations are dropping their age-old need for dominance and are finally making changes that are geared towards changing consumer perception. I welcome the digital age where the choice of what you write - and how you write it - can have enormous implications in the world of consumer perception. The time has come for corporations to adapt to consumers, and create messages that we are willing to hear!

Which other companies use their logo to convey a positive consumer story? What is it in their logo that enables them to tell their story in that way?

Eddie Bauer Returns To Everest With Social Media Campaign

I was shopping at Eddie Bauer a few weeks ago and grabbed a promo piece from their front cash. The postcard size piece was advertising their "Return to Everest" social media campaign where chosen legends of American mountaineering would climb the mountain and post their experiences on a daily blog. 

The campaign site is called First Ascent and also serves as a place to showcase the Eddie Bauer products that were being tested as part of the ascent. The visuals are gripping, and the storytelling approach combined with use of social media makes for a highly entertaining and effective campaign.

Reading the posts makes us feel as if we're part of the expedition team, as we enter a world of high adventure and high stakes towards the summit of Everest. The posts read like excerpts from a mountaineering novel, and readers are invited to post comments on the blog. There are also great video clips to bring the reader into the high altitude climbing experience. Talk about being drawn into the product or brand!

The experience is both inviting and entertaining, yet also serves as a backdrop to sell the Eddie Bauer product. What an interesting and effective combination of print and interactive media, with some interaction at the store level. For the technologically inclined, there are also direct links to the campaign on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Stories are a great way to showcase a brand. The experiences of real people matter to us, and make us feel as if we're part of their adventure.

Can you think of any other cool campaigns that could have been tied into this one?