Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chicago Dog Sauce

If you put ketchup on your hot dog, you’re not really a Chicagoan.

That truism is at the heart of a new Heinz campaign in which the brand leans into the Windy City’s no-ketchup-on-hot-dogs establishment by trying to develop a new tomato-based “Chicago Dog Sauce.” The hope is that people there actually would put this stuff on their hot dogs—along with the yellow mustard, chopped onions, sweet pickle relish, dill pickle spear, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers and dash of celery salt that make up the classic Chicago dog.

Chicago Dog Sauce, available for a limited time for $5 plus shipping and handling at, is being put to the test with product sampling throughout the Chicago area.

So, the whole campaign, timed to National Hot Dog Day on Tuesday, is a classic misdirect. Chicago Dog Sauce, with its “delicious red ripe tomatoes and special blend of spices and flavorings,” is really just regular old Heinz ketchup. Not a huge surprise, really, but it does lead to those amusing reactions from the tasters, first in their enjoyment of it and later in their F-bomb-laced chagrin.

The product launch will be supported by print and out-of-home advertising.

The whole stunt is a bit reminiscent of when Anheuser-Busch tricked Brooklynites into drinking Budweiser, which they also liked, to their unending horror. For Heinz, it’s an easy way to try something new without actually making anything new. And leaning into the tension around ketchup-hating is a fun way to churn up some decent content.

Now, if they could just get Chicagoans to change their hot-dog habits for good.

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