So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Tag Archives: Heinz ketchup

Milestones, stats and other ephemera

Well kids, I just hit an arbitrary milestone – over 80,000 hits since the blog’s inception. I was going to use 75,000 but I thought, “Nah, let’s hit a nice round number with 4 zeros”. I’m on track to hit 100,000 in the first year, which is respectable, considering the fact that I don’t write things too controversial or demand a lot of commenting  back and forth between frothed-up people with axes to grind.

Stats are a funny thing in that they can be mesmerizing. WordPress has this very cool graph thingy which allows you to track by day, week, or month. In the first couple of months, growth is exponential – “Oh boy, look at this graph – it looks like 90s housing prices”! Then you write about something that really causes it to spike. In my case, it was an innocent article about the change in the Heinz ketchup label, something that I had only noticed at work a couple of months after it had occurred. Apparently, I missed any media coverage of this momentous occasion, so of course I just had to write about it. Talk about hits going through the roof! Now, I don’t know if anyone actually read the damn thing, but to this day, I continue to get multiple referral hits on Heinz ketchup, ketchup bottle, and ketchup.  In fact, just yesterday I got something like 60 hits from web searches. Really? That many people need some esoteric information on Heinz ketchup?

Anyway, growth is leveled off as it should have by now. I’m in a comfortable range where I’m sure that I’m getting the readership that I deserve. I’m still on the uptick, but it’s far more gradual. After all, I’m no Huffington Post or Debbie Schlussel.

I’m grateful for all of my thoughtful readers who suffer through my twisted prose and occasional sentences that don’t begin with a capital letter. Actually, there’s a functional reason for this – for some odd reason, when I had to replace my old keyboard with this new one, it’s just a little bit different from my previous one and even after about 8 months with it, the shift key is off just enough that sometimes I only brush it hard enough to think that I pressed it.

WordPress also recently upgraded their spell check to include a deeper grasp of grammar. Talk about a ruthless editing taskmaster! It doesn’t like the passive voice one little bit, let me tell you. It doesn’t like words like “preshift”, “tipout”, blogster or Fahrvergnügen.

Now I have Sitemeter to feed my desire for stats, stats and damned stats. It’s richer and deeper and I highly recommend it to my fellow blogsters. Just don’t get trapped by its curvaceous siren call. It will drive you to the rocks, I tell you.

So, thanks to all for your support of this blog. I appreciate all of those who have linked to me. I realize that it’s difficult to contact me directly without a posted email address (this is another one of those “security measures”). If you’ve just been dying to give me a piece of your mind, or wish to ask a question, don’t ever hesitate to use the comments section to do so. In fact, this type of off-topic post would be just the trigger for you to pull.

And, if you are a blogster in need of some quick hits for ad dollar purposes or just intense ego gratification, or you think that your readership has slowed, here’s a suggestion – write a paean to Heinz ketchup. Who knows? Some of those folks who are interested in Heinz ketchup might end up hanging around for the party. At least you’ll get some gratuitous hits.

So, just for giggles:

Ketchup draws visitors like flies

I’m constantly amazed that, every single day, there are multiple listings for Heinz ketchup (yesterday 10), Heinz ketchup label (althready 2 today) tomato ketchup,  and just plain ketchup (yesterday 6 and already 2 today) in my “These are terms people used to find your blog” area.

I posted once several months ago about the change in labels by Heinz ketchup, a change that I found superfluous, costly and potentially risky from a marketing standpoint.

So I wondered if I my humble post had somehow rogued  itself into the top Google or Google blog listings. So I checked. No joy. So I checked Bing. Nope.

I’m baffled, frankly. My only guess is that this includes tag and keyword search and maybe I’m up there because bloggers don’t write very much about ketchup.

I just thought it was weird.

At least I don’t have the weird search engine terms that Hooters Girls bloggers seem to get. I’m grateful for that.

AlltheGirls_Love_Ketchup_72dpi

“All the girls love ketchup”.

Change for change’s sake – foodie post for the day

I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder when a company makes a marketing decision like the one that Heinz has made with its iconic Heinz Ketchup label. The label is a brilliantly simple and instantly recognizable representation of its product. It’s so much so that  I bet you never gave the label a second thought – it just is .

Here’s the old label, in all of its glory:

heinz-ketchup-old-bottle

And now, the new label:

heinz-ketchup-old-and-new-bottles-compared

The label on the right is the one that most consumers will be seeing, and I’d argue that the one one the left is also a “new” label, with the rather superfluous bright blue slash notifying you that you can fit the bottle in the door of a refrigerator.

Now, the fact that Heinz was written in a little pickle, an ingredient that you don’t find in the product, is almost beside the point. That little pickle is part of the gestalt of the label, a gestalt that we’ve all grown up with. As much as I’m glad to be informed that tomato ketchup is made from tomatoes, and I’ve always wondered what a tomato looks like before it is turned into the ubiquitous paste that we all have come to know, I think it’s a mistake to tweak the marketing gods. Why mess up a good thing? The label’s been the same for about a zillion years. Is this a case of change for change’s sake? Is this some marketing department struggling to validate its very existence?

Today at lunch, we had the president of the Nashville division of the second largest record group in the world dining with us, as he often does. As he was leaving, I accosted him and showed him the label and said, “You’re a bit of a marketing guy, right? (with my marvelous sense of understatement)” “He grinned and said, “Yes, I dabble in it a bit”. I said, “Would you have bothered to change this classic label”? He looked at the label, almost with surprise and shook his head. “No, why mess with such a classic image. At least they didn’t change the type or the shape”.

Exactly.

This might work out just fine for Heinz. Most people might not even notice. So, if that’s the case, I guess my point is, what is gained by messing with it in the first place?

I’ll bet this was a half a million dollar process. But I guess it’s worth it to the marketing people who depend on “doing stuff to stuff” for their living.

I’d call it a cautionary tale.