01 Feb 2002
about thinking outside the box! Since time immemorial, Americans
have slapped and shaken ketchup bottles at their peril, hoping
the red stuff would mostly wind up on their burgers and not in
their laps. Well, that's all so yesterday, shoppers, thanks
largely to Heinz North America managing director Casey Keller
(MBA '89), Adweek Magazines Newswire reported
(October 15, 2001).
Assigned to reinvigorate the company's ketchup sales, Keller
talked to children, the condiment's biggest fans, who told
him the bottles were too unwieldy. Oh, and another thing, said
the kids: "Make the ketchup a different color, like green
or purple, with nozzles we can use to draw on our food."
Declared Keller, "That proved to be the ultimate 'aha'
experience that gave birth to EZ Squirt."
Heinz EZ Squirt Ketchup, featuring colors such as Funky Purple
and Blastin' Green (along with Tomato Red) in a kid-friendly
container, was launched in late 2000 and is so popular, it's
making a run at the sales crown seized by that upstart condiment,
salsa. Furthermore, Adweek noted, it's "encouraging
pint-size painters to add splashes of green and squirts of purple
onto canvases where only daubs of red had roamed." "As
long as consumers are buying the product, we won't stop reinventing
ketchup," said Keller, who was named 2001's Grand Marketer
of the Year by Brandweek magazine for his colorful innovations.
"The only boundary is what kids tell us they want."
Class of MBA 1989, Section G