For the 150 years of its existence, Heinz as a brand has been obsessed with culture. But there is a need to keep it relevant, fresh, and real. In Brazil, where Thiago is based, content and campaigns are created by an inhouse content agency called The Kitchen. This inhouse agency concept is now being rolled out across different countries to enable creative teams to try things out and to take a more agile approach. As a result, the creative team can take strategic decisions and are empowered to do things in the spirit of the culture, without having to ask for permission or having to wait a long time for approval. Thiago says that he is obsessed with creating brief campaigns on a daily basis.
The responsibility of influencing
Thiago talked about the role of influencers versus brand marketeers and said that brands have to recognise the impact that their voice can have on people. Influencers and brands alike carry a responsibility to do good. He spoke about equality in the metaverse as an example, and said that while the metaverse may be cool, we have a responsibility to establish a discussion around equality in these virtual worlds. And he added that it is paramount that with campaigns that focus on sustainability, you have to show consumers that your actions are tangible and transparent and not merely greenwashing.
The challenge of reaching audiences
When asked about the difficulty of reaching audiences, Thiago said that there are a number of challenges. First, there is no linear funnel from communication to the consumer – consumers are impacted by random things all the time. Second, consumer journeys have become much more complex. How can advertisers guarantee what frequency of a story will get results? As creators, he said, we are trying to figure out how to implement a creative idea, tell that story in different ways and still guarantee its affect through media.
And finally, there is the challenge of guaranteeing that there is a balance between paid and earned media. He said that balancing them is not the newest idea but is something that Heinz is doing effectively. So, if one of Heinz’s campaigns gets above average earned media results, it will probably perform better in paid media as well.
Thiago and his team at Heinz are also reacting to popular culture and current events by trying to pick up, and react to, opportunities on the same day to be relevant and agile. He said it took time to build this culture and to be flexible with the content plan. The panel then went on to discuss earned media as a sort of badge of honour.
We used to create content for an audience, now we create content with the audience
Thiago said that there is a shift in his way of approaching content creation, as he finds he is no longer creating content for people, but with them instead. He said that brands need to invite their target group and build with them, rather than sitting in a closed room imagining a campaign for a certain group that may then fail. He cited as an example Heinz’s “Hidden Spots” campaign. In computer games, players cannot pause to take a break and eat something, because “if you bite you die”. Heinz created maps of the worlds within games indicating hidden spots where it was safe to hide out and eat. It leaked this map to prominent game influencers who are watched via live streams by a community that constantly want to be entertained. A campaign was created to find hidden spots to break and eat a burger. It was initially planned to happen during one weekend in Latin America, but then the world’s biggest game, Call of Duty, got involved and the campaign went global in ten days in twelve countries. The only asset or brand placement was a burger with Heinz ketchup, but it was all about seeing people hiding out from fights to eat and was a major success, said Thiago