Any Chicago native worth their (celery) salt knows that ketchup belongs nowhere on a hot dog.
In a 1995 column, Chicago writer Mike Royko castigated former senator Carol Moseley-Braun for an offense so abominable he wrote, “It is said that power corrupts. I didn’t know that it brings on utter madness.”
Moseley-Braun’s offense was a contribution to a recipe book by the American Meat Institute for a Chicago hot dog (which is not a sandwich) that gallingly included ketchup.
There are several theories as to why ketchup and Chicago hot dogs don’t mix, but the story I heard growing up in the city was that, ketchup used to be considered fancy. Hot dogs were the working man’s food, and mustard was the working man’s condiment.
For a company such as Heinz, this presents a challenge.
Plenty of Chicago consumers don their dogs with the red condiment, but how could they win the hearts and minds of true, no-ketchup city residents?
That’s where Chicago Dog Sauce comes in.
It’s Heinz’ tongue-in-cheek way of repackaging and rebranding ketchup—one of the world’s most widely used and beloved condiments—for a small segment of Chicago’s population.
The product was introduced on Tuesday for National Hot Dog Day, and here’s how Heinz rolled it out in the City of Big Shoulders (and no ketchup):
— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US) July 18, 2017
A new Heinz commercial shows gobsmacked Chicagoans purportedly trying the
ketchupChicago Dog Sauce and, to the great betrayal of their forefathers, liking it.
“You’re challenging people’s identities out here, man,” one man says. “This is dangerous.”
Heinz even sold a limited supply of bottles for $5 plus shipping and handling at ChicagoDogSauce.com. The website says the product is now sold out.
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Some consumers liked the stunt, and tweeted replies such as the following:
As a Chicagoan that only likes ketchup on hot dogs, thank you.
— Maribel J. (@theirongroot) July 19, 2017
Other Twitter users in the Chicago area weren’t having any of it:
Ketchup is for french fries and 5 year olds in Chicago. Go away @HeinzKetchup_US.
— Chris in Chitown (@AuburnTigersZRJ) July 18, 2017
— Holliloki (@HolliLoki) July 18, 2017
You know what happens when you disguise ketchup as Hot Dog Sauce? Do ya? Do you know what happens? Heinz Ketchup…. pic.twitter.com/smEv4XK9xJ
— Chicago Sports Bums (@ChiSportsBums) July 18, 2017
Another brand jumped also in to poke fun at Heinz in an attempt to grab some of the spotlight:
We got a cupla too-tree problems with this one. pic.twitter.com/rbdYAa5OSD
— Hebrew National (@HebrewNational) July 19, 2017
Overall, however, those with an aversion to ketchup on hot dogs seemed to think the following of Heinz’ marketing move:
disgraceful and amateurish but excellent marketing
— Miller (@ChrisMiller35) July 20, 2017
“Heinz may not have gotten the reception it wanted, but it certainly attracted Chicago’s attention,” CNBC’s Angelica LeVito wrote.
What do you think of the marketing gambit, PR Daily readers?