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Analysis

Being one of the
oldest and most trusted food brand in America and across the world, Heinz
manufactures and markets a very extensive line of food products varying from
condiments, dipping sauce, salad dressing to vegetable juice. With such variety,
the most recognized product that Heinz offers is its signature ketchup. Every
year, more than 650 million people use Heinz ketchup as a condiment to enhance
the flavors of their meals (Statistic Brain). However, to be in almost every
household, Heinz has to heavily advertise its products. In fact, the company
spends millions and millions of dollars each year to effectively put out the
ads. Behind each ad is the hard and creative work of trying to tell the
consumers about Heinz beliefs in every product that the company produces. This
essay will look at a Heinz ketchup advertisement put out in 2013 and analyze
the ad under a very semiotic perspective.

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Looking at the
advertisement for the first time, one cannot miss the bright and vivid red
backdrop that not only matches the brands color but also represents the true
color of tomato, the main ingredient of a ketchup. In the middle stands a
well-known traditional Heinz ketchup bottle with a special feature of being
made out of slices of tomatoes. Below the ketchup bottle is a text that reads
“No one grows ketchup like Heinz”.

 

While a simple
advertisement with such a minimalistic approach, the combination of text and
picture offers insight into the values of the targeted consumers. With a wave
of recognition of healthy food, people, nowadays, start to give more attention
to the food that they eat. Usually, “How many calories are in one serving?”, “How
much preservatives are there?” or even “how long can I store the product in the
fridge without having to worry about the decrease in nutrition values?” are the
questions that buyers have in mind when purchasing food. Catching the concerns,
Heinz uses those to target their customers and further the effectiveness of its
ketchup promotion. Doubtlessly, ketchup is usually overloaded with both sugar
and preservatives. However, in our case, a ketchup bottle made out of slices of
ripe tomatoes indicates the only ingredient used in production and its
freshness. Through this ad, Heinz is attempting to redefine the consumer’s
perception by luring its audience into thinking that its ketchup is an equivalent
of a healthy fresh fruit. No other brand can confidently produce ketchup and
compete against the company when it comes down to its freshness and nutrition
values. To convince Heinz is the best ketchup in the market, the company continues
to states that “No one grows ketchup like Heinz.” Being such a well-known
brand, sometimes, Heinz can use a bold statement, such as the “No one grows
ketchup like Heinz”, without needing any further evidence to back it up. It’s
obvious that ketchup is made in factory, not grown; yet, as the text reads, it
is clear that the marketers behind this campaign are trying transform the way
people think of ketchup, instead of a sugary condiment, into a nutritious, raw
ingredient. Doing so, the marketers have, in some ways, successfully created a
unique selling point and attached a “healthy” connotation to ketchup, which
would eventually attract more buyers, especially those in the healthy eating
segment.

 

 Moreover, in a society where the people are
fully aware that Heinz is full of preservatives and the government are trying
to tighten the food regulations, it’s imperial that Heinz put out an
advertisement that can reassure their consumers. By doing so, it proves to the
public that Heinz is a responsible company as it always tries to not only
comply with the laws but also think of nothing but the best for its customer
when it comes down to quality. Whether the firm actually changed its recipe for
the ketchup still remained unknown, the ad is also intended for people who are
looking for better quality food. In fact, as a genderless- and ageless-based
advertisement, the intention behind it could be trying to target parents who
are always looking out for healthier food for their children, athletes who are
trying to cut out sugar and preservative, or even healthy stores like Trader
Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc.

 

As for not only
a universally recognized brand like Heinz, every advertisement put out by any
companies can be interpreted in many different ways. In Heinz case, a buyer can
see slices of tomatoes on top of each other being an idea of art and creative
work, and therefore, associate the ad with possibly a campaign that encourages
farmers to grow tomatoes with the company. Many others could also think that
Heinz now owns farms across the country. With that, many interpretations could
be made just by analyzing one ad; however, whether what interpretation it is
will depend upon the values and norms of the people in a particular sector of our
society. By making the ad simple but straight-forward, the marketers at Heinz
have made the ad short but attention-grabbing, highlighting the key benefit of
what millions and millions of people eat every day, ketchup.