Smack for Heinz: billboards dispensing ketchup


Chicagoans take their hot dogs seriously, and for many, that means absolutely no ketchup. However, ketchup giant Heinz is shaking things up with a bold move aimed directly at the heart of the Windy City’s culinary tradition.

Today, pop-up billboards have appeared next to two iconic Chicago hot dog stands—The Wieners Circle and the McDonald’s at Navy Pier. This guerrilla marketing campaign, spearheaded by agency Rethink, features billboards equipped with ketchup packet dispensers, inviting passersby to indulge in the condiment often shunned by traditional hot dog enthusiasts.

Dubbed “Smack for Heinz,” the campaign playfully targets restaurants that opt out of serving Heinz ketchup, delivering a dual message—both encouraging consumers to “smack” the bottle for their ketchup fix and cheekily smacking back at eateries that hold out on the iconic brand.

Geoff Baillie, creative director at Rethink, explains, “The bottle smack is a universal symbol of the world’s love for Heinz. Knowing there are restaurants all over the world who refuse to serve Heinz, we turned the Heinz smack into a way of helping people let out their frustration and get the ketchup they want.”

QR codes on the billboards direct consumers to the campaign’s website,, where they can report other restaurants for not serving Heinz. The campaign is not limited to Chicago; billboards are also expected to pop up in other cities.


Lizzy Goodman, brand communications manager at Heinz, emphasizes the emotional connection consumers have with the brand: “One of the most consistent ways Heinz fans show their irrational love for our ketchup is their utter devastation and frustration when a restaurant doesn’t offer it. Underscoring our global creative platform, ‘Smack for Heinz’ not only combats this frequent ketchup catastrophe but also demonstrates to non-Heinz restaurants everywhere the lengths our fans will go to because ‘It has to be Heinz.’”

Agencies involved in the campaign include Carat for paid media, The Kitchen for social media, and Zeno Group for PR.

This isn’t Heinz’s first foray into poking fun at Chicago’s anti-ketchup stance. In 2017, the brand introduced “Chicago Dog Sauce,” a supposed new product that turned out to be plain Heinz ketchup—a playful jab at the city’s culinary conventions.

Whether this campaign will soften Chicagoans’ stance on ketchup remains to be seen, but for now, Heinz is making sure that fans can enjoy their favorite condiment wherever they go—even if it means getting a little cheeky along the way.


BRAND: Heinz Ketchup

AGENCY: Rethink

  • Head of Brand Comms: Nina Patel
  • Director Brand Comms: Megan Lang
  • Sr. Brand Manager: Jacqueline Chao
  • Brand Manager: Lizzy Goodman
  • Director of External Communications & PR: Jenna Thornton
  • Manager Brand PR & Media Relations: Alexandra LiebermanCCO: Aaron Starkman
  • CCO: Mike Dubrick
  • CCO: Daniel Lobaton
  • CSO: Sean McDonald
  • Executive Creative Director: Xavier Blais
  • Creative Director: Zachary Bautista
  • Creative Director: Geoff Baillie
  • Writer: Geoff Baillie
  • Art Director: Zachary Bautista
  • Head of Strategy: Julian Morgan
  • Strategist: Emma Bayfield
  • Director of Integrated Content: AJ Merrick
  • Director of Broadcast Production: Shelby Spigelman
  • Director of Integrated Content: Todd Harrison
  • Producer: Terri Winter
  • Producer: Kyle Hicks
  • Producer: Tricia Lapidario

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Mt Vernon Entertainment

  • Executive Producer: Ken Franchi
  • Line Producer: Ken Franchi

POST: R+D Post

  • Editor: Leigh O’Neill
  • Editor: Thais Maranho
  • Colorist: Hardave Grewal
  • Online/Motion Graphics: Hardave Grewal
  • Sound Engineer: Aaron McCourt
  • Post Production Supervisor: Shannon Ing


  • Photographer: Adrian Armstrong
  • Studio: Todd Bennett
  • Studio: Carl DeVouge
  • Production Fabrication: Wondermakr
  • Group Business Lead: Adam Ball
  • Group Account Director: Rob Dix
  • Account Director: David Greisman
  • Account Director: Lindsay Magrane
  • Account Supervisor: Rachel Cloth
  • Account Manager: Bhumika Baweja

MEDIA: Carat

  • VP Planning: Sean Cooray
  • Associate Director: Nicole Tarazona
  • Senior Manager: Micahya Byrd
  • Senior Associate: Elizabeth Schueler
  • Senior Social Strategist: Yalin Kaya
  • Account Director: Marco Cianfagna
  • Social Media Manager: Benjamin Badiuk

Communications: Zeno Group

  • Head Foodie: Missy Maher
  • EVP Media: Courtney Pischke
  • VP: Alysa Winkler
  • SAS: Bethany Roth
  • AS: Veronica Smith
  • SAE: Amelia Bogert
  • AE: Lulu Saias