As the Heinz brand celebrates its 150th birthday with a campaign focused on its iconic tomato ketchup, I’m reminded that I grew up with Heinz. As a child I remember seeing ’57 varieties’ on a Heinz label – probably a soup can – and wondered if there really were that many different products in the Heinz range.

Today, the company has more than 150 brands. Henry John Heinz introduced his now world famous marketing slogan ‘57 pickle Varieties’ in 1896, inspired by a shoe store ad boasting ‘21 styles’, spied as he rode an elevated train in New York City. 

17 years after starting his condiment and pickle business, Heinz decided to introduce his tomato ketchup to the UK, and succeeded in turning a simple bacon sandwich into the best thing since sliced bread. 

Heinz have looked back to the future to celebrate their 150th birthday. So, it seems only fitting that the star of Heinz’ $15.3 million marketing campaign to celebrate 150 years in business, is their world famous ketchup.

The brand has launched the campaign across TV, radio and digital using the line ‘150 years of clean plates’.

Thanks to a partnership with Heinz’ original UK stockist Fortnum & Mason, the celebrations feature limited-edition versions of Heinz ketchup, baked beans and tomato soup with specially designed labels in the store’s famous Eau de Nil blue.

There are also specially designed windows at Fortnum’s flagship store in London, and a limited-edition Heinz ketchup ‘caviar’ made from small spheres of sauce, of which just 150 jars have been produced.

Heinz and their 57 varieties have definitely come a long way since young Henry helped his dad grind spices for his mother’s pickles in their Pittsburgh basement. 

Henry J Heinz himself is reported to have once said, ‘Doing common things uncommonly well brings success’.

He certainly proved to be as good as his word. I mean to say, how could anyone possibly sit down to sausage egg and chips, a good old English breakfast, fried chicken, a juicy burger or a million other platefillers, without the addition of a great big blob of Heinz tomato ketchup to bring it alive?

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