Branding: Design choice - Heinz Tomato Ketchup

By Steve Irvine, Creative director, LFH,, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 12:00AM

Heinz Tomato Ketchup is like an old friend you can rely on. Everything about it, from the iconic design to the ritual of trying to get the stuff out of the bottle, makes me feel good, and, until now, its classic design has remained largely untouched. But this brand is hardly broke, so does the label really need fixing?

The little green gherkin, first used in 1883 to promote Heinz pickle products, has been replaced by a vine tomato, which stems from the keystone graphic via the green line to create a fresher, more integrated feel. A 'grown not made' claim has also been introduced to highlight the product's natural, healthy credentials.

Strategically, you can understand Heinz's move. There has been a widespread shift toward more natural, 'foody' communication. Still, this revamp does feel a little predictable. In a move that doesn't feel at all consistent with the brand, it has borrowed category language, rather than creating something distinct. The loss of the gherkin, despite its perceived lack of relevance, also means the label loses some of its personality and quirk.

This feels like a reactive move from the market leader, and whether shoppers will notice the change is questionable. By avoiding changes to the product or bottle shape, the redesign is unlikely to have a negative impact, but I'm not sure if a few tweaks to the label really justify the size of the investment.

Design: Vibrandt.

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