Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Draw KETCHUP.” Here’s how a campaign proved that when it comes to the “red stuff,” one brand rules! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

May 12, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.

A Note from Miles Everson:

As a business leader who’s been in the industry for over 3 decades now, I’ve seen various marketing strategies employed by brands to capture their target market’s attention. One of these strategies?

Guerrilla Marketing!

This type of marketing goes beyond the traditional ways of advertising a product or service. Campaigns of this type work wonders for many brands because they’re engaging, easy to execute, and sometimes, inexpensive.

Here’s an example of a creative and engaging guerrilla marketing tactic.

Keep reading to know how one ketchup brand highlighted the global iconism of its packaging and compelled its target audience to interact with its campaign.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

There are thousands of ketchup brands in the world. These include:

  • 365
  • America’s Choice
  • Annie’s Naturals
  • Del Monte
  • Hunt’s

If you’re thinking about which among these brands reigns supreme, you’re in for some in-depth research. After all, these companies target different demographics, so what might be the top pick for a certain population might not be the same for another population.

But, did you know that in January 2021, one ketchup brand reinforced its global iconism through a fun and interactive guerrilla marketing campaign?

That brand is none other than…


Photo from CNN

Heinz is a brand of tomato ketchup manufactured by the H.J. Heinz Company, a division of the Kraft Heinz Company. The brand holds 80% of the market share in Europe and 60% in the US.

The ketchup brand is often served in many restaurants across the US and Canada. As a condiment for different kinds of food like fries, chips, burgers, and hotdogs, Heinz uses the slogan:

“America’s Favorite Ketchup”

As of today, over 650 million bottles of Heinz tomato ketchup are sold every year across the globe.

A Little Experiment to Prove a HUGE Point

In January 2021, Heinz conducted an experiment that banked on the iconism of its popular condiment.

With the help of Canadian advertising agency Rethink, the brand came up with a campaign that invited consumers across 5 continents to “draw ketchup.”

The strategy came as Heinz saw its brand affinity scores decline due to some competitors stealing away its market share. The campaign’s objective was to reignite an emotional connection with consumers to bolster loyalty.

Those who participated in the campaign only knew they were joining an anonymous social experiment for a commercial. They had no idea what brand it was for.

The instruction they received was simple: They should just draw the first thing that came to their minds when they heard the word, “ketchup.”

The result of the experiment was incredible! While the quality of the drawings ranged, they all had something in common:

When participants drew ketchup, they drew Heinz.

According to Mike Dubrick, Rethink’s Managing Partner:

“Whether it was the glass bottle, the logo with a tomato, or simply just Heinz scrawled across the bottle, it was pretty amazing to see.”

Dubrick also said the campaign helped them prove a HUGE point—that when it comes to the “red stuff,” one brand rules.

After the one-day social experiment, Heinz took some of the sketches and featured them in an online video and on billboards across Canada.

… and the campaign didn’t stop there!

To make the most out of the “Draw Ketchup” guerrilla marketing stunt, Heinz invited more consumers to join in on the fun and share their own drawings at DrawKetchup.ca until January 31, 2021. Some of those who submitted their drawings on the site got the chance to see their masterpieces attached on one of 250 custom Heinz bottles.

Amazing, wasn’t it?

Thanks to the campaign, Heinz reinforced its unspoken association with its target market and demonstrated its supremacy as “America’s favorite ketchup!”

Was Heinz’s “Draw Ketchup” campaign effective?

The guerrilla marketing campaign highlighted the global iconism of Heinz’s ketchup and packaging.

As Daniel Gotlib, the Associate Director of Brand Building and Innovation at Kraft Heinz Canada, said:

“Consumers love the unmistakable taste of Heinz, and people around the world give credit to Heinz ketchup as the original and only option out there. We wanted to uncover that instinctual and intuitive association consumers have between ketchup and Heinz.”

So, when the campaign team asked consumers to simply draw ketchup, they learned that many people associate the condiment with Heinz. This assured the campaign team of the brand’s status and position in the market.

Here are the results of the “Draw Ketchup” campaign:

  • The campaign’s online video garnered 47,000+ views in just one day.
  • 97% of those who drew ketchup drew Heinz. This proved the brand’s supremacy in the market.
  • Heinz’s ketchup sales increased by 10% during the campaign.
  • The brand’s social media engagement rates grew by 1,500% during the campaign.
  • Media companies like Business InsiderBloombergFOX, and AdAge featured the “Draw Ketchup” campaign in one of their articles.
  • The guerrilla marketing stunt bagged the following awards from the 100th Marketing Awards in 2021:
  • Gold Award and Silver Award under the Integrated Campaign category
  • Gold Award under the Integrated Campaign Led by PR category
  • Silver Award under the Best in Collateral category
  • Silver Award under the Billboard Campaign category
  • Bronze Award under the Billboard Single category
  • Merit Award under the Television Single category
  • Merit Award under the Community Building category

Clearly, these figures and awards show that Heinz’s guerrilla marketing strategy appealed to its target audience and achieved its objective of reigniting its emotional connection with consumers.

A round of applause for Heinz and Rethink’s successful campaign!

As its slogan states, Heinz is the ideal ketchup for a large portion of the world. This is the brand’s most powerful asset, and through the “Draw Ketchup” campaign, the company leveraged this asset to interact with its target market.

This was a great marketing strategy for a ubiquitous food staple. According to Robert Williams, an editor at MarketingDive.com, asking people to draw ketchup as an experiment was a simple and amusing stunt.

… and for Heinz, this was an opportunity to tout the power of its iconography worldwide.

We hope you find Heinz’s guerrilla marketing campaign interesting and insightful!

Rather than your aim simply reaching a wider audience, use your marketing strategies to ingrain your products or services into your target market’s culture and leave a lasting impression on them.

Enjoy strategizing your own brand-strengthening guerrilla marketing campaign!

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
Powered by Valens Research

View All

You don’t have access to the Valens Research Premium Application.

To get access to our best content including the highly regarded Conviction Long List and Market Phase Cycle macro newsletter, please contact our Client Relations Team at 630-841-0683 or email client.relations@valens-research.com.

Please fill out the fields below so that our client relations team can contact you

Or contact our Client Relationship Team at 630-841-0683