Heinz calls on hot dog

Brief description of the dive:

Heinz calls on hot dog: Heinz Ketchup has launched a petition urging hot dog and bun companies to sell the same amount of product in each package, Marketing Dive reports by e-mail. The action is timed to coincide with National Hot Dog Month in July.

The Kraft Heinz brand directs consumers in the U.S. and Canada to HeinzHotDogPact.com, where they can sign the petition at change.org. The campaign was managed by Heinz agencies: Rethink managed creative and production, Carat provided national awareness, and The Kitchen managed social.

Heinz’s latest campaign comes at a time when consumers are starting to buy more hot dogs due to warmer weather and the spread of the COVID-19 vaccine, making barbecues more frequent. This effort is the CPG brand’s latest play on first-person consumer data.

Dive Insight:

The Heinz Hot Dog Pact is the brand’s latest attempt to engage consumers with quirky humor. This attempt stems from a common complaint that hot dogs usually come in packs of 10, while buns usually come in packs of eight. This complaint is becoming more and more relevant as consumers increase the number of grills and start having outdoor gatherings, reverting to pre-pandemic activity. The press materials reference a scene from the 1991 movie Father of the Bride, where Steve Martin’s character rants about the varying amounts of hot dogs and buns in each package, and a campaign video highlights complaints about the problem on social media.

By directing consumers to the change.org petition through its own microsite, Heinz could potentially collect first-party data, including consumers’ names and email addresses. Such experiments with data became more frequent last year as CPG brands prepared for data privacy changes, and will continue even after Google postponed the death of third-party cookies.

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The hot dog pact comes a week after parent company Kraft Heinz employed another tactic that became popular during the pandemic. The CPG giant has teamed up with Walmart to introduce the company’s food at Walmart Cookshop, the retailer’s video-shopping center, which is powered by Eko’s interactive technology. Launched earlier this year, Walmart Cookshop aims to shorten the sales funnel between content and purchase and attracts consumers who are consuming more digital content and increasingly using e-commerce. Kraft, one of the first platform partners among CPG brands, will be featured in 11 episodes.

This data, content and e-commerce activation could help Kraft Heinz build on gains made during the pandemic, when consumers were cooking more food at home and often reaching for familiar products like Heinz ketchup. The company’s organic sales were up 2.5% in the first quarter of 2021, an 8.7% increase over the first quarter of 2019, before the pandemic, according to Barron’s.

The quirky tone of the “Hot Dog Pact,” in which marketers of additional products can participate as a way to engage online consumers, follows previous attempts at the slow-pouring speed and ubiquity of Heinz’s iconic ketchup. In January, the Canadian brand launched a campaign inspired by a global experiment in which scores of anonymous people were tasked with “drawing ketchup,” and most of them drew a bottle of Heinz from memory. Heinz also launched a burger kit through an intentionally slow website and partnered with Burger King and Waze to engage consumers stuck in summer traffic.

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