Heinz enlists vegetarian vampire for return of Tomato Blood ketchup


    • Kraft Heinz is again rolling out Tomato Blood ketchup, a Halloween-focused offering that pairs the brand’s ketchup recipe with a limited-time bottle design, per a press release. The ketchup will be sold for $2.99 in grocery stores nationwide through October.
    • To promote Tomato Blood, Heinz enlisted popular TikTok creator E.J. Marcus to play the role of vegetarian vampire, Toby, in a playful spot that will debut Oct. 2 during the premier of AMC’s “Interview with the Vampire.” The video will also be featured on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
    • Heinz will take over popular channels on entertainment site Fandom and activate on Twitch. The push also features scannable QR-code billboards and a partnership with select Six Flags locations to offer “Bloody” nacho fries. The multi-channel, values-driven strategy is one of several efforts by the brand to appeal to Gen Z consumers.

    Kraft Heinz has previously embraced spooky holiday spirits with its Tomato Blood ketchup, frequently promoting the limited-time rebrand each year by tuning into Gen Z interests and macroeconomic trends. In 2020, it utilized TikTok to challenge consumers to share their Halloween transformation using Tomato Blood. In 2021, it sold DIY Tomato Blood costume kits, timed to concerns regarding supply chain shortages.

    This Halloween, Heinz is again championing TikTok for its strategy as it continues to rise above as a popular Gen Z platform. Buying into the growing influencer marketing ecosystem, the brand enlisted popular creator E.J. Marcus, known for his tongue-in-cheek impressions. Marcus, who had nearly 400,000 followers on the app at the time of publication, plays Toby, a human-friendly, blood activist, influencer vampire who has a sweet spot for Tomato Blood. 

    In the ad, Toby pleads with other vampires to consider switching to Tomato Blood instead of human blood, declaring that “humans are people too.” Gen Z-focused interests back the argument for why humans may be worth sparing, namely for their ability to create cool products, like LED-lit coffins and VR headsets. 

    The spot will debut during the premier of AMC’s “Interview with the Vampire,” a timely launch that could help bolster engagement. The spot will also be featured across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, where Tomato Blood content could resonate well with viewers — posts using the hashtag #fakeblood have bolstered over 5.1 billion views on the ByteDance-owned platform, per press materials. To further promote TikTok content, Heinz is utilizing vampire-glyph billboards with a scannable QR code that links to additional content. 

    Beyond meeting Gen Z where they are, this year’s push is clearly value driven, advertising Toby as a vegetarian vampire and “Tomato Blood activist,” alluding to the group’s growing interest in purpose-driven brands. Heinz recently made a similar value-driven move, partnering with online resale platform ThredUp to craft a collection of thrifted clothes with ketchup stains — a clear nod to the growing importance of sustainability in the lives of younger consumers.


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