Inspiration From Heinz’s ‘Iconic’ Bottle Design

Inspiration From Heinz’s ‘Iconic’ Bottle Design

Karan Rajpal, Director of Marketing at communications SaaS company EnableX, underlines the need to think about how customers use one’s products and then create experiences.

Team BrandSutraUpdated: Monday, January 01, 2024, 02:29 PM IST
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Heinz’s squeezy bottles, which sold one billion units globally in 2020, got a 100 pc recyclable cap that still allows for a comfy squeeze, in 2021. It was rolled out globally in 2022. |

Marketing titles remind us time and again what a ‘good’ campaign is, reinforcing an awardable, out-of-the-box template. 2023 too had its share of award-winning and appreciated campaigns. Let me use this end-of-the-year window to remind myself and my peers that some of the greatest ideas don't win advertising awards but make a killer impact on sales.

Iconic Packaging

Heinz Ketchup had perhaps the most iconic packaging design of all time (after the Coca Cola bottle). The brand has graced tabletops at home and restaurants globally for over 50 years now. Its bottle and the logo, called a keystone, has been feted in the press, especially marketing press, for being distinctive, memorable and many other lofty adjectives. 

Moving over glass to plastic

But, some spicy background information came my way by way of an article in the New Yorker from 2004. Turns out, Heinz changed the design of the bottle and moved it from glass to the specific shape in plastic because… they wanted mothers to let children use the ketchup bottle on their own. Research told them children used ketchup up to five times more than the average adult, and giving them an easy to squeeze bottle which could take bumps, would help mothers handover the ketchup bottle to the child.

The rest is history. It is history because marketing mavens have told us over and over again what great design it was. Iconic. Apart from the great product manager and market research folks, Heinz also had great advertising folks, and phenomenal PR teams. It’s not everyday, after all, that ploys designed to push consumption become the lore of a brand.

It’s another matter that label designers now have to work out various ways to fit in everything they are legally obligated to print on a Heinz bottle!

As we start the new year, let’s think about how we can go deep into how customers use our products, and create experiences that are worth their own publicity. 

Maybe in 2024, it will be your product that is featured on these pages!

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