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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Media Account Writers

£12000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This social media management pr...

Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor (Magazine Publishing) - Wimbledon - £23-26K

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor - Wimbledon...

Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publishing) - Wimbledon - £26-30K

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publish...

Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent