Heinz serves up gravy ‘hot takes’ to boost condiment beyond the holidays

Dive Brief:

  • Heinz is launching a new campaign backing its gravy offerings, the company’s largest marketing investment in the product category outside of the holiday season, per details shared with Marketing Dive. “Gravy Is The New Ketchup” is part of a larger “It Has to be Heinz” creative platform.
  • The campaign features short online videos, creator content and a “Gravy Hot Takes” series on TikTok and Instagram. Paid media support is running across Meta, TikTok and Pinterest, as well as through out-of-home (OOH) ads at retail points of sale. In addition, Heinz is introducing three new vegetarian-based gravies.
  • Created with agency Wieden + Kennedy, “Gravy Is The New Ketchup” aims to expand the use of gravy beyond traditional, holiday-based occasions to more everyday use as a condiment on everything from fries to unusual picks like brownies.

Dive Insight:

Heinz is looking to make gravy the new ketchup to close the gap between its second-largest subcategory and the iconic red condiment with which many consumers are familiar. A new marketing initiative encourages shoppers to apply Heinz’s brown gravy offerings the same way they do its ketchup, expanding purchase occasions beyond the holiday periods that make up about 45% of Heinz gravy sales.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of surveyed consumers already use Heinz gravy monthly, according to the announcement. The gravy-focused push complements an “It Has to be Heinz” platform that celebrates the extreme and irrational lengths Heinz adherents will go to in expressing their fondness for the brand.

“Digging into culture showed us that fans’ irrational love for Heinz extends to our gravy offerings, but many don’t regularly rely on the product because they don’t realize how easy and versatile it can be on a daily basis,” said Megan Lang, Heinz’s director of brand communications, in a statement. “’Gravy is the New Ketchup’ leverages Heinz’s iconicity and role as the condiment category leader to encourage fans to use our gravy like they use our ketchup — on anything and everything.”

Heinz is boosting that “irrational love” through a variety of advertising channels, including online video and OOH. Paid media on Meta, TikTok and Pinterest seeks to drive awareness and trials through calls to action and recipe inspiration, while creators will engage with “gravy-loving millennials” through comfort food content.

A series on TikTok and Instagram called “Gravy Hot Takes” demonstrates new ways for consumers to use gravy as a condiment for fries, hot dogs and more far-fetched dishes like brownies. In one instance, the content — perhaps with tongue in cheek — steers consumers to drink the gravy from a mug or as a “meat smoothie.”

To further expand the identity of gravy, Heinz is bowing three vegetarian varieties (Roasted Garlic + Rosemary, Caramelized Onion + Thyme and Herbs De Provence) as part of an Herbed Gravy lineup designed to make in-roads in a meat-centric category.

“It Has To Be Heinz” rolled out last year as Heinz’s first unified global marketing platform. The company in January debuted its largest global marketing campaign with “The Wait,” which celebrated consumers who are willing to wait to eat rather than dig in without its ketchup.

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