Beanz Meanz Less


In my view, Heinz’s remix of its classic slogan typifies many of the problems with modern marketing.

First, there’s the madness of anonymising a genuinely memorable, time-tested slogan that includes the brand name.

If I could somehow get my prospects chanting ‘For top copy, get Tom copy,’ I wouldn’t see removing the ‘Tom’ as an improvement.

Then there’s the crime against poetry of tinkering with a majestic line like Maurice Drake’s ‘BEANZ MEANZ HEINZ’.

Whatever your skill in writing, I’m sure you can feel the power, the beauty, the sheer bloody genius of those three Zs – hammering home the message even as they make you smile.

You don’t edit a line like that. It edits you.

But the biggest problem is the misguided aspiration. That ‘more’ implies a value judgement that beans should mean more; that they’re somehow not enough in themselves.

Yes, the plant-based nutrition and the breakfasts for hungry kids are laudable. But do people even want their beans to ‘mean more’?

I think the whole point of beans is that they mean less. Or at least, that they’re only themselves – familiar, unchanging, reassuring. And that’s always been the tone of Heinz’s adverts until now.

The brand meant the product, and the product meant the brand. And that was enough.

Yes, people will project their own memories and emotions on to their experience. But that’s their business, not the brand’s. The actual benefits of the product are convenience, comfort and taste – and that’s what the ads should be about.

You can read plenty more of my outmoded, curmudgeonly views on copy in Copywriting Made Simple.

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