Peter York On Ads: Nice ad, shame about the taste – Heinz should have gone to a real farmers' market
Sunday 11 November 2007
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.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Ottawa shootings: Terror strikes Canadian capital as attacks leave one soldier and one suspect dead
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...
competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: A global entertainment busi...
£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...
£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...