Heinz challenges pasta sauce category with new ‘nonna’ campaign


Following on from the launch of the Tomato Ketchup Pasta Sauce, which sparked controversy back in September, Heinz has launched a new wave of its pasta sauce campaign, with ‘nonna’ in partnership with Wunderman Thompson Spain.

For over 150 years, Heinz has been producing arguably the world’s best-loved tomato products from the finest Heinz tomatoes.

Now, almost two years after the launch, Heinz has been named as the #1 brand driving volume growth in the category, and has been credited with revitalising a dormant category.

The multimedia campaign launched in the UK 7 November with a hero TV spot, live across streaming platforms and supported by digital, social and out-of-home activity, including the famous Piccadilly Lights.

The campaign drives home Heinz’s ‘Ridiculously Good’ messaging, previously seen in their pasta sauce campaigns, with the brand’s trademark humour, but evolves to take on a more challenging and competitive dimension.


Heinz’ hero TV spot puts a spin on the typical Italian nonna from pasta commercials, giving her a Heinz touch: in this campaign the nonna lives in an English apartment, plays Mortal Kombat while shouting cooking instructions to her grandson, and cooks only with (obviously) Heinz pasta sauces.

The desire to deliberately subvert the traditional Italian category norm began right at the beginning with casting choices, choosing Paola Sebastiani as the lead actress, who, among other roles, has appeared in “L’amico di famiglia” by Paolo Sorrentino.

Across out-of-home and social media, Heinz showcases the ingredients and the main characteristics of its sauces with their trademark humour.

Mind-blowing, tempting, fiery, outstanding… the assets highlight the superiority of the various products in the brand’s range, always ending up being (you guessed it) Ridiculously Good.

And it does so in an iconic and genuine way, using imagery that plays with visual concepts but have been produced without CGI to convey the natural nature of the product.

Heinz also plays on the competitive nature of the pasta sauce category, with the headline ‘Not another pasta sauce’, showing a line-up of black and white generic pasta sauces, with Heinz’s pasta sauce standing out in colour.

Alessandra Sega, New Ventures Head of Platform at Heinz, said: “We are proud to see the continued growth in momentum for our Heinz Pasta Sauces and how it has been broadly recognised as a source of excitement and new news to the category.

“We are confident this campaign will help us continue to grow and prepare consumers for the next big news we are already planning”.

Pipo Virgós, Executive Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson Spain, said: “With the first two Pasta Sauce campaigns building a solid foundation, it’s time for Heinz to take their place in the category.

“This bold new campaign leans into the brand’s Italian heritage with a humourous twist, with supporting activity helping Heinz’s Pasta Sauces to stand out on the shelf.