Heinz's Little Soldier and other wartime campaigns
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.