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Heinz Mayo – is that you?

Heinz Mayo – is that you?

Did Heinz succeed with their redesign of the Mayo product label?

Rewind to 2011. I was out shopping for some Heinz Mayonnaise (who doesn’t love a spoonful of mayo in their sandwich) and had to look twice when I reached the aisle – was this the right Heinz Mayonnaise that I had bought for years? It looked different – so I checked it over. It was definitely Heinz, only they had changed the label.

The new look Heinz Mayonnaise had a new dark blue label and included the traditional Heinz keystone. The ‘light’ variety featured a light blue label, to differentiate calorie contents.

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The aim of this brand redesign was to keep things consistent, said Heinz. “Currently, Heinz Mayonnaise is branded differently for foodservice and retail, which can lead consumers to struggle with connecting the two brands. To ensure one consistent brand image, the redesign will be implemented across both sectors with all consumer facing foodservice packs aligning by the end of the summer. The redesign is also being supported with an on-pack promotion, offering consumers their money back if they decide “that Heinz is not their favourite mayonnaise”.

This got me thinking – what impact did this redesign have on me, the consumer? I can sum up my initial thoughts and feelings in two stages:

  1. Confusion. I buy Heinz Mayonnaise regularly, which means I am familiar with their branding. Without even thinking, I can recognise the Heinz Mayonnaise label from anywhere. So, upon seeing a brand I know and love with a different label, it got me thinking – was this the real deal?
  2. Intrigue. Once I realised that this was in fact the Heinz Mayonnaise that I had been buying for years, I found myself asking ‘what does this new label mean? Actually, it is quite attractive. Now I can easily define the lower calorie mayonnaise in my fridge! It might even be easier for me to spot down a shopping aisle.’

So what does this mean for established brands thinking of undertaking a label redesign? It means that they should expect it to take some time for people to ‘settle into’ the new design. They might even face some resistance to it. However, once this time passes, they can expect positive results, but only as long as they have a clear and definitive reason to change their label in the first place. The label needs to ‘do what it is there to do’.

Heinz were on a mission. They wanted people to recognise one Heinz Mayonnaise brand and one only. They wanted to differentiate between full fat mayo and the light stuff. In this way, the new label worked. It did what it was supposed to do, so people liked it. It made their life easier (well, it certainly made my life easier)! And it even offered a promotion.

People tend to be scared of the unknown – we are all creatures of habit. We like familiarity, so a totally new look for you and your brand might not be the way to go!

But like any good marketing decision, especially one about branding, you must take a risk in order to be successful.  Perhaps, one of the most important messages in marketing is that if you start with a clear method to your madness, you’re more likely for success.  A complete re-design doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change each and every element of your product (or product label) to succeed. Like Heinz, it may be that just by changing the look and feel of the packaging label, it is enough of a subtle change to improve your consumers’ buying experience whilst still keeping the overall corporate feel of your brand that has been held for decades.

We’d love to know if, like Heinz, any of you have tried it!



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