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August 20, 2006

Personalizing Colas and Ketchup Bottles

After Stephen Colbert's tribute to the Heinz Ketchup My Heinz campaign, in which consumers can purchase bottles of the ketchup with personalized messages on them, I thought this new brand marketing strategy and a similar one deserved some discussion.

I can remember in grade school how proud I was to find a place at Consumer's Mall which could personally put my name on every one of my pencils, so I took those pencils back to my fourth grade class and paraded them around. A similar feeling of glee must be what propels the folks who order personalized bottles of the ketchup to send messages to others.

I remember hearing quite a while back about the Jones soda My Jones campaign, which went a similar route except with allowing viewers to get a completely presonalized bottle of the soda, complete with a picture, etc. Several people have used the bottles of the soda for weddings or other special events, in which personalized bottles can be used.

This is far from the first instance at creating a viable keepsake out of what is generally a discarded container for a mass produced product. Landfills are lined with glass bottles and plastic ketchup containers, but the people who have these personal products made are likely going to keep the bottle. Of course, in the case of both products, the idea is that such an innovative marketing drive will lead to a stronger consumer connection with the brand.

At the very least, people will end up with my dad, who still has several cans of Kentucky Wildcat RC Colas sitting in one of his cabinets, even though I'm quite sure that 18-year-old carbonated beverages are not going to be that tasty--wer're not talking about fine wine, here.

In contrast to CBS's egg-vertising campaign, this transforms a utilitarian disposable container into a keepsake of its own. And, because the messages are open to anything, the personalized services allow the products to be viable for any number of uses, from the aforementioned wedding to a wide variety of practical jokes.

I'm already wondering how many people have proposed by passing the ketchup.

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