Corporate Eye

Heinz Launches Creative Facebook Promotion in U.K.

You might not expect a brand like Heinz to launch an innovative social media marketing promotion, but that’s exactly what happened in the U.K. when Heinz started selling limited edition ketchup from its Facebook page. Check out the image from the Heinz Facebook page below.

In an effort to boost the Heinz Tomato Ketchup UK Facebook page audience, the company released a limited edition Balsamic Vinegar ketchup product. Only 1,057,000 bottles of the limited edition product were produced, and according to Ad Age, 57 of those bottles were sent in advance of the promotion to key bloggers and VIPs. This was a smart move since connecting with online influencers in an effort to convince them to talk about your brand is a critical first step to social media marketing success. The next 3,000 bottles were offered for sale through the Heinz Tomato Ketchup UK Facebook page to the first 3,000 new people who “liked” the page. Facebook users could buy the bottles directly through the Facebook page using a built in payment system and a credit card.

In less than a week, the Heinz Facebook page rose from 45,000 likes to 58,896 at the time of this post’s writing. That’s a 30.88% change and the conversations happening on the Heinz Facebook page by people who are receiving their bottles of the limited edition ketchup are very positive.

Of course, the promotion didn’t go off without some glitches — primarily because the response was a lot bigger than Heinz anticipated. The Facebook page and ordering process were slow and didn’t always work as well as they should have, but overall, the promotion appears to have been a success for Heinz.

People are publishing on the Heinz Facebook page about how much they love the new ketchup flavor. They’re taking pictures of their bottles (including the packaging and accompanying note) as well as of themselves holding their new Heinz ketchup bottles and publishing those on the Heinz Facebook page, too. That means their comments and photos are being seen by a lot of people, which gives Heinz a significant amount of positive online buzz.

In simplest terms, this is a promotion that got people talking and undoubtedly provided Heinz with excellent information to use when developing future social media marketing initiatives.  For consumers, this promotion was interesting, easy to participate in (despite the order processing glitches), and fun. It’s not surprising that it was successful.

What do you think? Were you one of the 3,000 people who got a bottle of the limited edition Heinz Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup? Leave a comment and share your thoughts about this creative Facebook promotion.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Nicely written article. I’m a fan of balsamic vinegar and ketchup, so I’d sign up if I lived in the UK. UK seemed to be ahead of the game in terms of cunning PR. This is a perfect example of using people to spread the news. Perhaps co-opting rather than using people is a better term sign consumers willingly sign aboard. Moreover, a free bottle of ketchup costs almost the same as a passive Google ad under CPC for Heinz if… it was distributed through their regular channels Sainsburys, Tesco etc.

Please shoot the telemarketers that phone me 2 – 5x a day trying to sell me utter cr*p.

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