EDITORIAL: Heinz family values will be of little comfort now

Why is it that almost every sneering remark about advertising down the years has made reference to baked beans? It’s as if the product has come to represent the industry at its tacky and manipulative worst.

Why is it that almost every sneering remark about advertising down

the years has made reference to baked beans? It’s as if the product has

come to represent the industry at its tacky and manipulative worst.



Actually, there’s no shame in flogging cans of beans, or soup or ketchup

for that matter. Heinz has done it exceptionally well for decades.



Even now, at a time when such products are in danger of becoming mere

commodity items, Heinz continues to endow its brand with feelgood

hearth-and-home values. The result is that the company enjoys a level of

consumer affection rare among giant food manufacturers.



For this, it owes much to Bates Dorland. Ever since it plucked the Heinz

Soups account out of a strife-torn FCB in 1987, until the time, a decade

later, when the company’s billings with the agency stood at more than

pounds 20 million, Dorlands has produced work that has both amused and

touched in equal measure.



Curiously, it is the very ordinariness of the advertising that has

distinguished it. The ’toast to life’ campaign, with its snapshots of

family life, has always managed to pluck the heart strings while staying

saccharin free.



The latchkey kids, the single mum and the man mountain of a lorry driver

arriving home so late that he can only gaze silently at his sleeping

children will live long in the memory, as well as the South African

soundtrack that compelled attention.



It’s a bitter price that Dorlands now has to pay for Heinz’s decision to

go the global route with Leo Burnett. And it’s cold comfort for the

agency to know it will be a hard act to follow.



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