Heinz asks consumers to grow their own ketchup

<via Contagious>

When asked, “Where does Heinz Ketchup come from?” some kids didn’t know. They thought it came from a factory. To remind customers that Heinz is made from all natural ingredients, they created a social campaign – Grow Your Own – with an offline family activity.

The task at hand was to remind British families that ketchup is made from real tomatoes. This challenge was likely to get moms to feel less guilty about serving ketchup to their kids. By creating a family activity – in this case, gardening –  that emphasized the natural ingredients in the ketchup, Heinz was able to address an emotional and rational need simultaneously. 

Convincing a city dweller to garden is no easy feat, especially if they don’t have room to plant things. In fact, Heinz had to create The Tomato School, which taught regular people how to grow tomatoes well, with step by step pictures. The brand had to incentivize participation by offering Heinz brand gardening merchandise, such as wheelbarrows and gardening gloves, to those with the best pictures to drive UGC. And so, Heinz’s customers got creative, took pictures, and shared their creations back to Heinz’s Greenhouse Photo Gallery on Facebook. 

The digital component was an online Facebook game, in which they had to protect the digital version of their plant from various slugs, birds, and weeds. As they successfully played the game, they were entered into a sweeps for a daily prize. 

Packaging for the product also changed to reflect the Grow Your Own messaging. 

In the end, over 30K families started growing their own tomatoes and  the earned media of this social campaign reached over 11M people, or just over 1/3 of the UK Facebook population. There were over 180K engaged users. The Grow Your Own game was played 59,203 times, up 25% from Heinz Ketchup’s previous Facebook game. 


Why I’m Curious

I’m always surprised when brands can get people to participate in offline activities that requires (1) giving up personal data to receive something as dull as seeds which you can get from a grocery store (2) taking time and effort to change behavior and take up planting seeds (3) then share their creations back to the brand. I suppose that if they have already completed (1) and (2) they are far more likely to do (3), but it’s a massive change in behavior. In the end, is the investment in incentive to drive participation the way to build a lasting relationship with the target, or are they looking for the next free thing? 



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