CAMPAIGNS: Relaunch - Reviving the fortunes of Salad Cream

Client: HJ Heinz
Campaign: Relaunch of Salad Cream
PR Team: Holmes and Marchant Counsel
Timescale: Jan - Mar 2000
Budget: Undisclosed

Client: HJ Heinz

Campaign: Relaunch of Salad Cream

PR Team: Holmes and Marchant Counsel

Timescale: Jan - Mar 2000

Budget: Undisclosed

HJ Heinz must be unique in having a trio of products so embedded in the

national psyche, and larders, that rational discussion about them is

almost impossible. Heinz’s Baked Beans, Ketchup and Salad Cream all drip

with resonance of childhood, and Britishness.

Unfortunately, in the case of the last product, the dream exceeds the

reality. Although Heinz Salad Cream dominates its sector with 59 per

cent share, salad cream has long since been outflanked by other

dressings and mayonnaise as palettes have become more sophisticated, and

sales are in decline.

However, the mere suggestion that Heinz was reviewing the future of the

condiment was enough to the spark a nationwide ’save our sauce’ campaign

in the media. Heinz swears that it had nothing to do with the


But bowing to popular demand, last month it announced that it was

relaunching the product - with a 66 per cent price hike.


To put Heinz Salad Cream back on dining tables; to position it as a

quirky taste; and to remind young adults in particular that it goes with


Strategy and Plan

Because of short lead times, Holmes and Marchant had to start planning

the relaunch before it was even confirmed that it would happen.

The core objective was to inject some contemporary personality into a

brand that was perceived as old-fashioned and had been sorely neglected

for years. Research found that the taste, although universal in its

appeal, was thought to be quirky and individualistic. The target market

was identified as young adults - who would then be able to pass those

memories on to their own children.

Comedy was thought to be a perfect fit with the message and the target

market, so the brand was relaunched to a wide cross-section of consumer

journalists at the Jongleurs comedy club in London. The media were

treated to contemporary foods with the addition of salad cream.

A photo call was arranged with Denise Van Outen and Graham Norton - both

quirky individuals - which allowed for some cheeky images of Norton

rubbing salad cream into Van Outen’s chest. The session was also used to

launch a sponsored 20-venue comedy tour sponsored by Heinz Salad


Measurement and evaluation

The central messages that Heinz Salad Cream is back and that it tastes

good with everything were faithfully replayed by the seven papers which

reported the story.

In fact the Sunday Mirror thought it was so good that it re-ran the

news, despite it having already appeared in the daily edition. This then

triggered a further round of coverage in the broadsheet dailies. It was

also covered on BBC2’s Working Lunch, as well as BBC Radio 1, 2, News

24, and Virgin.

There were, however, some murmurs about the price having doubled and

some suggestions that the original ’save our sauce’ campaign was in fact

a tease.


Although part of a fully-integrated marketing campaign the PR has

fulfilled its brief admirably. After years of neglect, it got Heinz

Salad Cream talked about again.

Retailers have been persuaded to stock it and, despite the massive price

hike, Asda has even given the creamy condiment the accolade of a

five-star relaunch package with special gondolas and in-store radio.

A web site was also launched to coincide with the product’s availability

in stores. Sales are said to be going well, although whether this can be

sustained against competition from more exotic products has yet to be


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