Does Heinz have to mean healthy?

Heinz has had its TV ad for baked beans banned by the ASA over nutrient claims, but why did it want to go down the health route in the first place?

Heinz Baked Beans has this week seen its TV ad banned for the second time this year by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA said its regulations do not allow claims that one food has "as much" of a nutrient or nutrients as another food.

It must be disappointing for Kraft Heinz to see its ad taken off air again, after it has tried to correct it to hit standards that are acceptable. I can’t imagine the investment was less than significant with its creative agency to create the original ad.

For me though, the ad raises a bigger question than should or should it not be allowed. Why has Kraft Heinz made the strategic decision to align itself with health brands? 

Yes, Heinz baked beans are pretty good for you, but they are never going to win the gold star for the healthiest brand out there. Which begs the questions, even if the ASA allowed the ad to run, surely it is putting itself in a race that it doesn’t really need to run?

Heinz baked beans is an iconic brand that is heaped in nostalgia, a brand that has sat at the heart of the family for generations. The brand love is phenomenal, and through years of great advertising it has managed to develop a distinct position that defines its category. Why then would you not continue to push the amazing feeling that you have when you taste its amazing product?

There is the argument of course that the FMCG brands constantly need to be tapping into new consumption trends. In order to stay relevant and not slip into the depths of becoming a nostalgia brand that everyone loved but doesn’t want anymore, they must be constantly looking to change and adapt their marketing strategy.

There is no doubt that a legacy brand like Heinz baked beans needs to appeal to a modern audience and continue to increase consumption but the health sell was an odd bean. Perhaps the ASA has done it a favour?


Guy Bradbury is creative partner at Atomic London

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