UPDATE: JULY 16, 2021: After Heinz's petition received more than 28,000 signatures and was featured in a segment on "The Late Show," fellow Kraft Heinz brand Oscar Mayer announced plans to release a limited-edition two-bun pack in the U.S. if its tweet gets retweeted 5,700 times, in honor of Heinz 57.
- Heinz Ketchup launched a petition that encourages hot dog and bun companies to sell equal numbers of products in each package, per details emailed to Marketing Dive. The effort is timed to National Hot Dog Month in July.
- The Kraft Heinz brand is directing consumers in the U.S. and Canada to HeinzHotDogPact.com, where they can sign a change.org petition. Heinz's agencies managed the campaign, with Rethink leading creative and production, Carat driving national awareness and The Kitchen managing social.
- Heinz's latest campaign comes as consumers begin buying more hot dogs as warmer weather and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines makes barbecues more frequent. The effort is the CPG brand's latest play around acquiring first-party consumer data.
Heinz's Hot Dog Pact is the brand's latest attempt to engage consumers with quirky humor. This effort ties into a commonplace complaint about hot dogs typically coming in packages of 10 while buns typically number eight per pack, a gripe that is more top-of-mind as consumers ramp up grilling and start hosting outdoor gatherings as they return to pre-pandemic activities. Press materials nod to a scene in 1991 film "Father of the Bride" where Steve Martin's character rants about the different number of hot dogs and buns in each pack, while a campaign video highlights complaints about the issue across social media.
By directing consumers to a change.org petition through its own microsite, Heinz can potentially collect first-party data including consumer names and email addresses. This type of experiment around data surged over the past year as CPG brands prepared for changes to the data privacy landscape, and are poised to continue even after Google delayed the death of the third-party cookie.
The Hot Dog Pact comes a week after parent company Kraft Heinz embraced another tactic that accelerated in popularity during the pandemic. The CPG giant teamed with Walmart to feature the company's food products across Walmart Cookshop, the retailer's video shopping hub that is powered by interactive technology firm Eko. Launched earlier this year, Walmart Cookshop seeks to shorten the sales funnel between content and purchase, and engages with consumers who are consuming more digital content and increasingly embracing e-commerce. Kraft is an early CPG brand partner with the platform and will be featured in 11 episodes.
These data, content and e-commerce activations can help Kraft Heinz build on the gains it made during the pandemic, when consumers cooked more meals at home and often reached for familiar products like Heinz Ketchup. The company saw organic sales climb 2.5% in Q1 2021 — an 8.7% increase compared to the first quarter of 2019, before the pandemic, per Barron's.
The quirky tone of the Hot Dog Pact — which could see marketers of complementary products get in on the effort as a way to engage online consumers — follows previous efforts that have toyed with the slow pour speed and ubiquity of Heinz's iconic ketchup. In January, the brand in Canada debuted a campaign inspired by a global experiment in which dozens of anonymous people were assigned to "draw ketchup" and most drew the Heinz bottle from memory. Heinz also rolled out a burger kit via an intentionally slow website and partnered with Burger King and Waze to reach consumers stuck in summer traffic.