Peter York On Ads: Nice ad, shame about the taste – Heinz should have gone to a real farmers' market

There's not a day goes by that I don't ask myself how 'eco' I am, how organic, or what my carbon footprint looks like. That's because I'm trying my best to be as non-eco-correct as possible. Our research for the slimy fictional eco-type 'Ben' for Olivia Stewart-Liberty's and my new book showed us what snobby, bossy people inhabit eco-world. And as for carbon footprints – I haven't had enough! Not enough travelling, long-haul flying or Monte Carlo yachting.

The really crucial eco/ organic celebrities are obviously socially smart, well-off and very travelled. I know you can learn masses from former sinners, and we're all bored to death with Prince Charles' huge worldwide carbon trail. But it gets to you eventually – and central to it all is the Farmers' Market and Food Fairs movement. We've got one in Marylebone; I go mainly for the people because it can get very social. The point of all this is that we think we know what 'farmers' market' means – it's a nice, PLU kind of name for real things from real farmers.

Heinz marketers have picked this up too: 'farmers' market' is a reassuring, upper-middly kind of name that could add value to their deeply un-Foodie, old-fashioned tinned soups. And they saw that, amazingly, it wasn't legally protected.

The Heinz Farmers' Market soup commercials are smartly produced around a clever conceit – bringing good-looking farm animals and produce into a yuppie couple's life. So they're watering cabbages in a window-box or finding hens in kitchen cupboards, with 'The Archers' music at top volume. It's quite convincing, and suggests that Heinz have done a deal to make the compliant real thing. They haven't. There's no link to Farma, the Farmers' Market movement, and a lot of angry web chatter because it doesn't conform to the 'local produce' idea (the on-screen small print has the weasel-line "made with quality ingredients from the UK and other countries".)

The one I tried sounded good, "slow cooked lamb with root vegetables", but it tasted – and smelt – like tinned soup usually tastes and smells, with that emphasis on reddish stuff (tomatoes, carrots) and those ingredients – glucose syrup, maltodextrin, non-specific vegetable oil – you wouldn't expect from Farmer Jones.

This is clever and dumb marketing. Clever to recognise the value-adding trend, dumb not to make the soup significantly better and to ignore the instant response from a talkative grapevine. They've even roused my Inner Foodie (™ Ann Barr and Paul Levy 1985), and that takes some doing.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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 Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

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