Heinz hunts for agency as bean fight escalates

Heinz is in the midst of a pitch for a ‘significant’ round of consumer PR projects, which will see one agency promoting Heinz Beanz as well as other brands.

Heinz: has drawn up an agency shortlist
Heinz: has drawn up an agency shortlist

The food giant has already shortlisted Cow, Frank and Shine Communications, who have all worked with Heinz on recent projects. An undisclosed number of other agen­cies are also in the frame.

Market-leading brand Heinz Beanz has lost ground to Branston Baked Beans since they launched over a year and a half ago, Branston’s owner Premier claims.

The Branston Baked Beans launch was handled by food specialist Phipps PR and Citigate Dewe Rogerson (PRWeek, 25 November 2005). Aggressive promotio­nal activity tried to push the idea that Branston’s beans taste better than Heinz’s, through blind taste tests.

In 2006, Premier Foods ­reported that it had won a 10.9 per cent share of the market, with the beans category having grown by 3.1 per cent overall. Premier is reportedly spending £3m on marketing Branston Beans in 2007.

The launch of Branston Baked Beans has stirred up the beans market, and both manufacturers have introduced innovative bean ­varieties to drive sales.

Branson recently introduced ‘Branstein’ Baked Beans with added Omega-3, and this month Heinz announced it was to create a limited edition Baked Beanz with HP Sauce.

In 2005, Heinz consoli­dated all UK consumer PR into Shine, ending a four-year relationship with Porter Novelli (PRWeek, 14 January 2005).

Heinz UK & Ireland director of corporate and ­government affairs Nigel Dickie is overseeing the pitches. He described Shine as Heinz’s main agency. It was also the most recent agency to work on the Heinz Beanz brand.

Dickie joined Heinz in 2005 from Heinz’s corporate and B2B PR agency Counsel, where he was MD.

Counsel was wound up when he left, with the Heinz account moving to Hunstworth stablemate Grayling (PRWeek, 28 October 2005).

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