History Lessons

HJ Heinz - Publicity pays. Where would we be without our baked beans or ketchup?

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Where would we be without our baked beans or ketchup? Heinz owes its revered place in the hearts and minds of students and fry-up fans to its 19th-century founder, whose approach to self-publicity broke the mould. Desperate to spread the word about his beans and pickles, Henry J Heinz was one of the first manufacturers to offer free samples and money-back guarantees. He also masterminded one of the world's longest-running ad campaigns when in 1893 he launched the company's branding: a bright green cucumber shape and the '57 Varieties' logo. Heinz had noticed a poster advertising 21 shoe styles while on a New York train: 'The idea of 57 varieties gripped me at once. I jumped off the train and began the work of laying out my advertising plans. Within a week, the sign of the green pickle with the "57 Varieties" was appearing in newspapers, on billboards, signs and everywhere else I could find to stick it.' Never mind that the company already produced 60 varieties.

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