Heinz hit by Twitter 'brand-jacking'

Heinz has become the latest company to get 'brand-jacked' on Twitter.

The US-headquartered global food giant has fallen victim to a Barcelona-based Twitter user (@mrkhndy), who started tweeting in Heinz's name on Tuesday (27 May).

While the initial tweets from the fake Heinz account were harmless encouragements to "Buy Heinz", these gradually escalated from the political "Mrs Farage has revealed that Nigel has a hectic lifestyle and skips meals. If you're like Nigel, why not try heinz beans on toast" to the absurd.

This led Heinz to respond via its real Twitter account @HeinzUK, tweeting: "Whilst we appreciate loyal Heinz Beanz fans,we also appreciate transparency. Please visit @HeinzUK, the official Twitter of Heinz UK".

However, this simply sparked a flurry of anti-Heinz tweets from the @mrkhndy account, including "Boycott Heinz", "Heinz Beans are quite expensive" and "I do not like Heinz beans". These were followed by the more subversive "This is the official Heinz Beans Twitter account and the opinions here are the opinions of Heinz" and the assertion that:

— Heinz (@mrkhndy) May 29, 2014

Heinz told PR Week that it had reported the fake account to Twitter. Nigel Dickie, corporate and government affairs director for Heinz Europe, said: "Whilst we appreciate loyal Heinz Beanz fans, we also appreciate transparency. We are in touch with Twitter given this breaks with their T&Cs."

This has apparently led to a threat of legal action against @mrkhndy, although at the time of writing the account remained unchanged.

UPDATE 4pm: The account has now been suspended.

UPDATE 31 May: The account is now back in action, has been renamed 'Not Heinz' [causing the same change in the tweets embedded above] and includes the following message ...

... and this new profile:

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