Heinz Develops ‘Chicago Dog Sauce’ for the City That Won’t Put Ketchup on Its Hot Dogs

See how it went over with the locals

Headshot of Tim Nudd

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 chicagodogsauce.com, is being put to the test with product sampling throughout the Chicago area.

See how the locals reacted to it here:


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.

Client: Heinz
Vice President of Marketing: Michelle St Jacques
Director, Brand Build: Nicole Kulwicki

Agency: Alison Brod Marketing + Communications
Agency: Starcomm
Agency: PureRED | Ferrara
Agency: David Miami
Chief Creative Officer, Founder: Anselmo Ramos
Managing Director: Paulo Fogaça
Creative Director: Tony Kalathara
Associate Creative Director: Jason Wolske
Associate Creative Director: Danny Alvarez
Art Director: Curtis Caja
Copywriter: Dan Flora
Group Account Director: Michelle Cobas
Director of Strategic Planning: Jon Carlaw
Head of Global Production: Veronica Beach
Producer: Carlos Torres
Associate Producer: Marina Rodrigues
Business Manager: Barbara Karalis

Production Company: The Reserve Label
Director: Jacob Rosenberg
Executive Producer: Ryan Slavin
Producer: Ari Palitz

Post Production: Optimus
Executive Producer: Brian Hrastar
Editor: Randy Palmer
Assistant Editor: Mark Czajkowski
Jr. Assistant Editors: Allie Fohrman and Connor Luczak
Audio Engineer: Marina Bacci
Assistant Audio Engineer: Zach Scheitlin
Flame Artists: Jim Moss and Glen Noren

Music: Earhole Studios
Producer: Adam Weibe

Color: Nice Shoes
Colorist: Ron Sudul
Color Assist: Alex Frankland

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: July 18, 2017 https://dev.adweek.com/brand-marketing/heinz-develops-chicago-dog-sauce-for-the-city-that-wont-put-ketchup-on-its-hot-dogs/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT