By Amy Houston

June 1, 2023 | 6 min read

The move marks the brand’s largest media investment to date. Here, the Kraft-owned company breaks down the thinking behind the project.

Whether advertising its ketchup, beans or anything in between, Heinz is a brand that taps into people’s love for its products in its ad campaigns. Its latest push is no different. However, what’s different about this iteration is that it’s the first time in its history that the company has presented the same creative execution across all markets worldwide, with Wieden+Kennedy as its go-to shop.

The campaign has been a year in the making, with Megan Lang, who heads up brand communications for Heinz in North America, explaining that there was an opportunity to take the brand to the next level. “Kraft Heinz is leading a culture of creativity to reach this broader ambition to be the best marketer in the world, while of course leaning into our scale and agility to make great ideas travel.”

Getting those concepts across multiple markets has, until now, typically been localized. Lang explained that it was never too tricky to align all the different creative strategies for the brand as each market owned the creative work and the teams were interconnected. This meant that the outcome was cohesive and not contradictory. It had never felt the need to consolidate everything until now. So what has changed?

“We sat down, looked at the brand and found that we have more similarities than differences around the world,” she explains. “That created a mindset shift for us that had an incredible opportunity to unify the brand.”

To ensure it had all the right ingredients to make a successful campaign, Lang says it consulted many different consumers, finding that people show their love for the brand in wonderful and irrational ways (looking at you Ed Sheeran).

“We decided not to invent anything for this campaign. It’s about humanizing those real consumer stories where people have gone to these extreme lengths to show their love for the brand.”

‘It Has To Be Heinz’ chronicles fans getting tattoos of the logo, carrying small condiment packets in purses just in case and even hiding tins of beans in suitcases. Lang says the team really wanted to do these fun anecdotes justice and that from strategically landing in a place that felt exciting to crafting high-quality work, it has been quite the journey, but one they are all proud of.

Lang says the caliber of the work is down to creative agency Wieden+Kennedy. She added that it was a privilege to work alongside a team who understood the nuances of speaking to a younger audience without alienating a loyal fan base. “Instead of chasing that next Gen Z trend, which I think would age quickly, they really pushed for and sought after a timeless platform that could take us into the next 50+ years and would resonate across generations. From a working relationship perspective, we’re collaborative and open with Wieden. We trust each other and view each other as extensions of our respective teams.

“If an idea comes from the US or the UK or any other market, it’s now plugged into this global creative strategy. That allows us to very quickly have the opportunity to scale and maximize its potential, it’s exciting.”

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Of course, there will be challenges that arise, but Lang keeps a ‘we’ll see’ attitude and maintains that the benefits outweigh any obstacles that may occur.

Launching today, the activity is the biggest media investment that Heinz has ever put behind a campaign. Lang isn’t comfortable sharing an exact number but says it’s “significant“. Everything the food company does going forward will accelerate this global strategy. “It’s the turning of a new leaf from Heinz. We’re launching in a big way, but this is definitely just the start.”

Inside the viral Heinz x Absolut collab that sent pasta sauce sales soaring.

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