Heinz cooks up direct assault - Business - News - The Independent

Heinz cooks up direct assault

DON'T be surprised if a letter from Tony O'Reilly lands on your doormat later this year. The chances are that the flamboyant chairman of Heinz, the US-based food giant, is seeking to start a personal relationship.

The letter will almost certainly be sent to hundreds of thousands of British homes, for Heinz is going into junk mail in a big way to sell baked beans, soups, sandwich spreads and other products from its 300- strong range.

It is part of a new trail-blazing strategy in 'relationship marketing' being adopted by Heinz's UK arm, which aims to use direct marketing - of which junk mail is one example - in response to changing consumer spending habits.

In future, the company will reserve television advertising to puff up its brand image and overall range. Direct marketing will push specific products.

Heinz's plans are at an early stage, but the strategy could have a big impact on how fast- moving consumer goods - essentials such as detergents - are marketed by other companies.

Many companies, such as Birds Eye, owned by Unilever, already use direct marketing to reach customers, but Heinz will be the first to adopt it so comprehensively.

'This is the biggest and purest 'umbrella television campaign' we have ever seen,' said Martin Boase, chairman of Omnicom UK and a leading advertising executive.

'Some others are also using direct marketing, but these companies still highlight individual products in their TV campaign. I am sure quite a lot of food companies will be watching Heinz closely.'

Heinz, which spends about pounds 12m a year on television advertising, is the brand leader in several products, including baked beans and tomato ketchup. But it is under pressure from supermarket own-label products.

'In today's changing market place we need a rapid and efficient means of speaking to our key customers,' said Lawrence Balfe, Heinz's marketing director.

Its current television advertising, epitomised by the catchy 'Beanz meanz Heinz' campaign - which concentrates on individual products - is likely to be ditched.

The company's new brief to its two advertising agencies, BMB DDP Needham and BSB Dorland, is to create fresh television campaigns with a general theme. 'Our television ads are likely to carry thematic messages reflecting values common to lots of our products. The Heinz label stands for nutritious products for the family,' a spokesman said.

The company plans to maintain its existing budget for television advertising, and also boost substantially its direct marketing budget. Although no figures have been disclosed, industry estimates suggest its direct marketing budget could be increased by several million pounds to around pounds 10m.

The move underlines the growing sophistication of the direct marketing industry to target specific consumer groups. By using product coupons, prize draws and other sales promotion techniques, many companies have built up vast databases on potential consumers, who are then targeted through mailings.

One of the most high-profile direct marketing campaigns was carried out by British Airways two years ago, when it ran a pounds 50m campaign offering free flights. That enabled BA to build up an information database on air travellers, which has been deployed to target key customers.

Typically, direct marketing has been used to sell expensive products bought infrequently, such as cars or insurance policies.

But Heinz is breaking new ground by using direct marketing intensively for low-value, high-frequency goods. In part, the move has been influenced by its successful use in selling baby foods. 'We have had a very positive response with our baby foods products and it has helped us to build our market share from 50 to 60 per cent.'

However, it remains to be seen whether the company can repeat its success with other products. Marketing experts point out that mothers with babies are easy to target and Heinz faces a much bigger challenge with other products.

Others say junk mail suffers from serious disadvantages. 'It is difficult to see that something that arrives in the post will carry the same impact and authority as media advertising,' one specialist said.

(Photograph omitted)

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week