• English

01.02.2024 | by Lili


Heinz fights against fake ketchup with colour-code




  • Heinz introduced a red border on its label that exactly matches the colour of authentic Heinz ketchup
  • This method prevents restaurants from filling empty Heinz bottles with off-brand ketchup
  • The brand’s action was a successful marketing and online brand protection solution



Telling a fake product from the real deal is often quite difficult, especially for consumers with no background knowledge in counterfeiting. Now, Heinz has found a genius way to help its loyal customers identify if a bottle with a Heinz label indeed contains the real deal.


See our tips for recognizing fake products that don’t come in a Heinz bottle


The iconic sauce brand has identified a problem: some restaurants, when they run out of Heinz ketchup, simply fill the bottle with an off-brand product and continue to give it to customers as authentic Heinz.


This widely used practice creates a major problem for Heinz: since it comes in an authentic bottle, customers will identify the refilled ketchup as Heinz. But what if it has a bad taste, weird texture, or is even downright toxic? The consequences for the brand’s image can be devastating, even though they had nothing to do with the subpar product.


Well, Heinz launched a campaign to put a stop to this damaging practice once and for all.



Colour-coded ketchup

In a campaign called Is that Heinz?, the brand introduced a new label on its ketchup bottles where the red border of the label (identified by a specific pantone code) matches the colour of the ketchup inside.


With this tool, consumers are now able to identify if they’re being served genuine Heinz ketchup: if the condiment’s colour doesn’t match that of the label, they’re getting off-brand ketchup.



Ketchup_Labels_ color_code_Heinz_trademark_protection_online_brand_protection_services_globaleyez.jpg


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Screenshots of trendhunter.com/trends/color-of-heinz displaying Is that Heinz? campaign posters


The campaign was a great success, both from a marketing and an online brand protection point of view. The marketing company responsible for the campaign found that 97% of consumers were able to identify if they were being served an off-brand ketchup. This pressure from consumers resulted in a 24% increase of authentic Heinz usage in Heinz bottles. 


We online brand protection experts applaud this simple yet powerful tool that enables consumers to identify a genuine product, all the more because counterfeited food is very dangerous for the health and wellbeing of people.


However, what to do if a counterfeiter uses the exact same shade of red in their product to fool the system? Or, in a case even more likely, what can a brand do whose products don’t lend themselves to such an easy way of telling fake from genuine?


Well, that’s what online brand protection is for.



Monitoring the internet for IP infringements

In a case like Heinz’s, we would suggest starting with a round of image monitoring to catch any unauthorised use of your brand’s IP protected imagery. This includes ads, social media posts, product pictures on webshops, etc.


Then, with keyword-based monitoring, we’d zero in on fraudsters using your brand’s name, product name or any other keyword that implies they’re selling your products without your authorisation.


As the next logical step, a test purchase is the perfect method to learn all about the seller as well as the origins of the product. It’s needless to say that with a test purchase we can also determine if the product sold is original or not (if need be, then even with the help of lab tests.)


Finally, we can enforce your rights and demand the removal of the infringing content from the internet, including marketplaces, single webshops, social media, domain registries and any other corner of the internet.




Heinz has found a genius way to guard its products’ integrity in restaurants. If you’re worried about your IP rights but don’t have a similar method at your hands, don’t be discouraged.


Reach out to us and let’s find a genius way together to protect your brand from IP infringements!