Heinz's Lit­tle Soldier and other wartime cam­paigns

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Heinz has been renowned for sales pro­mo­tion and ad­ver­tis­ing flair ever since the early days of the com­pany un­der the lead­er­ship of founder, Henry J Heinz – him­self the orig­i­na­tor of the iconic ’57 Va­ri­eties’ slo­gan. The His­tory of Ad­ver­tis­ing Trust’s Eve Read looks back to the 1940s.

Heinz had a pres­ence in Bri­tain from 1886 when the en­ter­pris­ing Mr Heinz from Pitts­burgh sold his prod­uct range to Fort­num & Ma­son and in 1925 Heinz opened a state-ofthe-art fac­tory at Har­les­den which in­cluded their first British can­mak­ing depart­ment.

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War baked beans were clas­si­fied as an es­sen­tial food ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial ra­tioning sys­tem although an or­der from the Min­istry of Food put an end to the tra­di­tional in­clu­sion of pork in this prod­uct.

In ad­di­tion ship­ments from Canada ceased which meant that many pop­u­lar tomato based prod­ucts (eg Heinz Ketchup) were no longer avail­able and there­fore new va­ri­eties us­ing ac­ces­si­ble in­gre­di­ents such as potato and car­rot were de­vel­oped, as well as hearty Heinz com­plete meals such as steak and kid­ney pud­ding or beef with dumplings.

Heinz, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ICI Ltd, was re­spon­si­ble for the cre­ation of the in­ge­nious self­heat­ing can which en­sured that troops were able to en­joy hot meals in the field.

Other Heinz in­no­va­tions were the in­tro­duc­tion, for the first time in Bri­tain, of veg­etable de­hy­dra­tion and the cur­ing, on the premises, of veg­eta­bles for the Bot­tled Goods Depart­ment (source: British 57 News, June 1951).

Heinz ini­tially ceased ad­ver­tis­ing on the out­break of war but it re­turned from April 1940 to ex­tol the virtues of canned food and pub­li­cise the com­pany’s con­tri­bu­tion to the war ef­fort. For ex­am­ple the im­por­tance of baked beans as a nour­ish­ing sta­ple for

ev­ery­one (‘What a splen­did food to pre­serve the stamina of the Na­tion in War-time’) was em­pha­sised in the eye-catch­ing ‘Quality for Mil­lions’ cam­paign over the win­ter of 1940-41.

The ‘Fuel Se­ries’ of win­ter 1942/43 pro­moted the warm­ing prop­er­ties of Heinz va­ri­eties through slo­gans such as ‘Eat for Heat’ and ‘A Fire-side in­side’, with par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence to sus­tain­ing the es­sen­tial war-work­ers and fire­watch­ers in the house­hold.

The fa­mous ‘Lit­tle Soldier’ cam­paign in 1944-45 kept the pub­lic in­formed about on­go­ing wartime short­ages, ex­plain­ing that sup­ply of the mil­i­tary was the key pri­or­ity and en­sur­ing that the Heinz name was kept alive through­out this pe­riod.

Post-war ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns such ‘Back they come, One by One’ kept the pub­lic in the loop as to when prod­ucts from the Heinz port­fo­lio grad­u­ally re­turned to British din­ner ta­bles.

The post-war de­mand for Heinz prod­ucts was such that the com­pany de­vel­oped ad­di­tional fac­tory premises at Stan­dish in Lan­cashire. Strained baby foods were first off the pro­duc­tion lines there, soon fol­lowed by soups and bot­tled goods and, at last, home pro­duced tomato ketchup.

The 1940 Heinz Baked Beans ‘Quality for Mil­lions’ ad­ver­tise­ment.

The 1944 Heinz Al­ways Ready to Serve cam­paign.

The 1947 post war Heinz 57 Va­ri­eties cam­paign.

The 1945 Heinz 57 Soon Now ad­ver­tise­ment.

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