Heinz fight back vs. bully boys of own label

Picture 2 For too long Leader Brands have been beaten up by the own label bully boys, as I posted on here back in 2007. Retailers copy the famous brands look, feel and product concepts and sell them side by side at knock-down prices. Things only got worse in the recession, with supermarkets like Tesco getting more aggressive with their "swaps" campaign: swap this basket of famous brands for our own label and save a packet.

So, its nice to see Heinz being brave and bold enough to so something about it. They've launched a new campaign called "It has to be Heinz" to promote the uniqueness of their five core products. You can click below to see the ad in the blog, or click here to watch on YouTube:

Here's what I think Heinz are doing well:

1. Focus on what made you famous
Heinz are not doing a high-level masterbrand campaign. Instead, they are focusing on their five core products. These are i) the source of authority for Heinz, ii) the source of profit. The famous five are tomato soup, tomato ketchup, salad cream, baked beanz and spaghetti hoops.

This is part of a bigger move to focus the portfolio on Leader Brands with strong equity and a number 1 or 2 position. Heinz have sharpened their focus by selling off non-core brands such as Linda McCartney's range and
StarKist tuna. As Mark Ritson said in his column, "The
resulting slender portfolio allows Heinz to focus marketing and
research and development resources on the brands with the most profit
potential." Right on Ritson.

2. Keep on keeping ahead
Heinz make their products distinctive by having ongoing waves of renovation. On ketchup the brand has maintained a 75% market share in this way, with ideas such as the upside down easy squirt bottle and a 'trap cap' that
eliminates messy ketchup.

3. Combine sizzle AND sausage
The Has to be Heinz campaign is a good combination of product sausage and emotional sizzle. They manage to tell a product story in an emotionally appealing way. It taps into the fabric of British life, and does a good job of showing how Heinz is part of this. You love the taste, but also the emotional feeling you get when you open a can of soup or baked beanz.

Mark sums it up well: "There is nothing revolutionary
about any of this. Tighten your portfolio, build brand equity, focus on
innovation – these are the quintessential responses to private
label. But Heinz has done them so well. As its founder, Henry John
Heinz, noted more than a century ago: 'To do a common thing uncommonly
well brings success.'"