Heinz Added Real Ketchup Stains to Branded Apparel 'Drop'
Every hot-dog eater or French fry enthusiast has had to deal with the dreaded ketchup spot on an otherwise clean white shirt. In a new line of apparel, Heinz is actually celebrating those accidents as a decorative piece, framing it as adding "flavor to your fit" with clothes that feature a ketchup spot. It's also appealing to younger demographics' love of thrifted apparel and environmentalism.
Through a partnership with ThredUp, the Heinz "Vintage Drip" collection of apparel, features thrifted pieces from big-name fashion brands, each with a spot of real Heinz ketchup.
There are a few genius bits of wordplay here: The first is that "drop" coincides with the literal drop of ketchup and the limited-edition apparel drops that are so popular in streetwear and promotional releases these days. The other is that "drip" is, of course, slang for style.
Being that this is a limited drop, it only features about 150 pieces of thrifted apparel. According to a ThredUp study, 62% of Gen Z and Millennials say they look for an item secondhand before purchasing it new.
Other brands have chosen this tactic, like A&W's upcycled apparel line.
“While Heinz is recognized globally for its iconic glass bottle, keystone and slow-pouring ketchup, we saw an opportunity to view the stain we’ve been leaving on clothes as another iconic brand symbol and change the narrative from a stain to a statement,” Alyssa Cicero, brand manager for brand communications at Heinz, said in a press release. "This collection is about sustainably celebrating the character Heinz ketchup stains add to apparel, inviting our fans to embrace a new iconic symbol."
Also, Heinz is tying in a bit of good will by donating all of the proceeds to global hunger relief.
Using food as dye is a cool idea to boost brand recognition, but it's not entirely new. Chipotle created dye from avocado pits for an eco-friendly decoration tactic. The Heinz drip creates a message of holding onto apparel pieces, even if they have an imperfection or two; it piggybacks onto recognized brands like Nike and Gap; and the drop serves as a reminder of all of the food you can enjoy with a drop or two of Heinz ketchup.
As far as the branding itself goes, that little blot of red is minimal, but it says a lot more about the brand.