Heinz Ketchup – It’s Irresistible

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Heinz has the number 1 or 2 market share in more than 50 countries, and is in Forbes top 100 World’s Most Valuable Brands. People love Heinz so much they simply demand to see it in the iconic bottle. Some restaurants have said it actually costs more to serve the ketchup in the bottle, instead of from their bulk purchase, but they do it anyway because people love Heinz.

One of Malcolm Gladwell’s reasons for why people love Heinz so much is that they like the familiar. He uses the example of a child trying a new food, like tuna or Brussels sprouts, and wanting to alter the food to make the unfamiliar familiar. People don’t just like the taste of the ketchup, they like knowing Heinz ketchup will always taste good, even if the other things on their plate don’t.

So why, after 138 years, when almost every food has been revamped, has no other ketchup competitor even come close to Heinz’s success, even given the emergence of better tasting ketchups, according to taste tests? The New Yorker argues that Heinz is “irreplaceable,” words that will warm the hearts of new owners Warren Buffet and Brazilian hedge fund 3G. But the answer is more than that. “Ketchup is magic. And Heinz is its magic brand.” The relationships Heinz has built with their customers have been grown through generations (and a good appreciation of bottle and label design). Customers from all corners of the world love the brand, and that love makes Heinz irresistible.

p.s. My personal favourite is HP brown sauce. On breakfast sausages, on bacon sandwiches, on cheddar cheese. For all the reasons we love Heinz….But you had to be there!!!

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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