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Heinz to Hellmanns

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Brand Marketing | Research & Data Analytics

Բ’s mayo was overlooked in ketchup-loving Germany, but by showing that even someone with the name Heinz can love mayo, we tapped into the power of advocacy and extreme brand fandom to drive conversion, bringing the brand to the forefront of German culture.

THE CHALLENGE

Բ’s is the world’s No.1 mayonnaise brand. But while it dominates the category in most individual countries, in Germany, it’s a very different story. From an awareness standpoint, the brand lags behind its competitors in fourth position. In fact, over 8 out of 10 Germans don’t even remember the name Բ’s when asked about mayo.

Complicating matters, Germany is a ketchup-loving country. From a market value standpoint, the ketchup business is 33% larger than mayonnaise. And when it comes to ketchup, there’s no bigger brand than Heinz, dominating a fractured market with a 28.4% share.

To alter the business landscape, the most direct strategic route would be to take Բ’s competitors head on, but German advertising regulations prevented us from using the competition’s IP and with no comparative claims to ketchup, we needed to find an alternative route.

THE STRATEGY

It’s not surprising that ketchup is the default condiment in Germany. After all, it’s home to 35,490 people named Heinz, the most in the entire world. But just because your name is Heinz doesn’t automatically dictate that you love ketchup more than mayo. For the same reason that people with the last name Brewer might not love beer, Fishers might hate sushi, and the Cheesemans might be lactose intolerant, your name might not reflect your actual taste.

If we could tap into mayo preference amongst those who bore the name Heinz, we could have a compelling reason for the rest of Germany to reconsider their condiment choice. And by deploying those named Heinz, we had a clever way to circumvent advertising rules that prevented us from mentioning our competitor.

THE EXECUTION

We started by putting the word out via an organic social post on the Բ’s Deutschland Instagram channel, asking if there were any mayo-loving Heinz’s who would be willing to change their name from Heinz to Hellmann's. Beyond the positive response from the community, four mayo-loving individuals named Heinz enthusiastically volunteered to make the ultimate switch. So, we put their names on Բ’s jars and featured them in our campaign. And we made one, Christoph Heinz, the centerpiece of our communications by documenting his name change journey in long-form content.

From there, we used always-on social engagement to help drive online buzz. We even got Thomas Heinz, the German star of last year’s award-winning Heinzjack campaign, to join the fun. We then opened it up to more people, giving anyone the opportunity to express their mayo love by changing their online social handles to ‘Hellmann's’.

THE OUTCOME

The Heinz to Hellmann's campaign successfully established a strong association between mayonnaise and Բ’s, significantly enhancing brand love and purchase intent. 

According to a brand uplift study, 79% of respondents agreed they are more likely to think of Բ’s when they think of mayonnaise. The campaign increased brand love by 52.9% and drove purchase consideration by 200%, positioning Բ’s ahead of all competitors. Furthermore, 74% of participants agreed the campaign made them more likely to buy Բ’s mayo in addition to ketchup, and 59% said they would buy it instead of ketchup. On Բ’s Deutschland Instagram channel, engagement increased by 60%. The campaign also generated 101 pieces of earned coverage across Germany and international titles, with media outlets covering over 60% of the German market.

79%

agree they are more likely to think of Բ’s when they think of mayonnaise

74%

agreed that the campaign would make them more likely to buy Բ’s mayo in addition to ketchup

200%

increase in purchase consideration, putting Բ’s ahead of all competitors