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How Heinz saved a nation’s Christmas dinner with its Big Soup


By Awards Analyst, writer

June 20, 2022 | 7 min read

Heinz won at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022 in the Social Media category for its ’Heinz Christmas Dinner Big Soup’ campaign. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project...

heinz big soup

Heinz's festive Big Soup

Heinz Big Soup primarily targets men aged 18 to 45, yet a steady decline in sales and consumer relevancy led to it falling out of touch with Brits. To rectify this, ‘Heinz Christmas Dinner Big Soup’ was introduced to rekindle brand love and remind Brits of Big Soup’s big flavors and convenience.

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The brief

An integrated campaign was formed to use social media to promote talkability, and product awareness and inspire audience engagement. The social strategy was instrumental in adding to the exclusivity of the product, as it was only available to purchase on Heinz’s D2C platform Heinz to Home.

The primary objectives were to build buzz around the limited edition can and drive online conversions on the Heinz to Home website, raise product awareness and drive a trial of Heinz Big Soup to increase market share and drive data capture for the Heinz mailing list to retarget consumers in the future with Heinz Big Soup messaging.

The idea

Christmas dinner is a well-loved meal in the UK, but in autumn 2021 there were warnings of a turkey shortage due to supply chain issues.

Heinz Big Soup commissioned primary research to understand audience sentiment around the much-loved festive dinner, discovering that of the 2,000+ UK adults surveyed, 42% said they would eat Christmas dinner more often if it did not take so long to cook and 36% said they would have it more often if it were not so expensive.

‘Heinz Christmas Dinner Big Soup’ was created; a chunky, thick soup that featured every festive trimming. It produced 500 cans to be exclusively sold on its D2C website, Heinz to Home, and teased the launch of this limited edition across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok with influencer partners. When the first batch of 500 cans went on sale, it sold out in three hours and people took to Heinz’s social channels to demand more.

Heinz also launched a social competition to give people the chance to win one of the last remaining cans in the UK. The entry mechanic was lead generation, enabling Heinz to data capture consumers who had shown interest in the ‘Big Soup’.

Demand for the product exceeded everyone’s expectations and a second batch was produced. However, with many brands spending big budgets on Christmas campaigns on social, Heinz needed to think outside of the box to keep everyone interested.

With a low production budget, Heinz created a TikTok parody of the John Lewis ad featuring Christmas Dinner Big Soup. Following this, Heinz maintained its momentum on TikTok running an additional giveaway on the platform using an engagement mechanic. Social was also used to drive waitlist sign-ups for the second batch and to react to international engagement with Christmas Dinner Soup from Stephen Colbert and Drew Barrymore.

The results

Christmas Dinner Big Soup was one of the most successful campaigns for Heinz in 2021, engaging a nation and driving strong brand results for a product that was declining in sales.

Social was an integral part of driving and maintaining the buzz for the Christmas Dinner Soup with 505m social impressions, making it the fifth most talked about Christmas campaign of the season on social, despite having a tiny production budget and a budget of zero.

It also saw 46,000 email sign up to D2C platform Heinz to Home through social competition and waitlist social ads with 512m PR impressions, including international coverage, and 10,500 follower growth during the campaign across TikTok and Instagram.

The social campaign also helped deliver real business results for Heinz Big Soup with 14% week-on-week sales uplift of Heinz Big Soup varieties and a market share increase of 5% in 2021 – gaining above and beyond the lost 3.5% market share of 2020.

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This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. You can see all the winners here.

And check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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