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Heinz – Hot Ketchup
Figure 1: Heinz - Hot Ketchup
While analysing advertisements, it is considered crucial to look for certain hidden
media messages within their content. A psychoanalytic analysis of
advertisements, according to Berger (2005), is an investigation of human mind,
especially, the unconscious mind, building on psychological theories of Sigmund
Freud. Further, Berger explains that people’s behaviour is influenced by their
unconscious. Often, people do not know that they are driven by certain desires,
fears, needs and conflicts of which they are unaware. Today Freud’s
psychoanalytic conceptis applied to explicate how the media work and how they
Researchers have been able to determine that media is one of the best platforms
to influence viewers and consumers who are exposed to advertisements on a daily
basis. Advertisements were then designed to carry certain hidden messages that
were, more often than not, sexual in nature. Although this pattern has been seen
prominently in that of alcohol and especially beer advertisements, several other
brands and products picked up on this technique and used it to their benefit.
According to Delahoyde, Freud also conveyed that many media texts, like
dreams, express the hidden unconscious desires and anxieties of the creators. In
addition, advertisers have identified the use of Freud’s structural hypothesis for
the mind as a powerful tool to exploit the viewer’s unconscious desires and
Heinz – a ketchup brand most known for their playful and creative
advertisements, both in print and broadcast took a rather unique turn with their
“Heinz – Hot Ketchup” advertisement. This single image advertisement is far
from simple but very well placed. The advertisement uses strong sexual appeal
rather evidently with a brilliant use of product placement with some chicken,
asparagus and cabbage to go with it.
The advertisement consists of a plate of unsuspicious looking food – but only on
the first glance. Once looked at clearly, one can see a plate consisting of chicken
wings, chicken balls, some asparagus and cabbage and of course – Heinz
Ketchup. What stands out most in the advertisement is how wonderfully the
ketchup has been used on the chicken. While the wings take the shapeof two legs
hanging mid-air as well as the torso, the chicken balls serve as a face, two breasts
and random décor. The asparagus on the right of the plate emotes that of a hand
outstretched. The cabbage perhaps takes the place of a bed. The ketchup can be
found strategically placed on top of the chicken balls a.k.a breasts as well as the
A viewer might on first glance be confused about the productbeing advertised. It
might even come off as a McDonald or KFC or any popular fast food restaurant.
But to the top right of the image, the Heinz ketchup logo stands mighty – with all
its red and white contours. Also, it can be noted that the placing of the food on
the plate as well as the background of the image denoted a fancy restaurant and
not a fast food joint or any regular place. The element of luxury, indulgence and
elitism can be seen in the placing of the product. The table is also decorated with
a pair of stainless steel knife and fork as well as salt and pepper to go with it.
Even though the composition of the advertisement primarily uses soft colours,
the perfectly fried orange of the chicken, the green of the cabbage and the
asparagus, and the red and white of the Heinz never fails to miss the eye.
Often, advertisers use their products to favour a consumer’s Id and create an
element of desire in their minds. This they do byprojecting certain sexual images
orcontent in the advertisements so that they could possiblydenote more than they
are meant to. This advertisement serves as a brilliant example of how advertisers
try to recreate an individuals suppressed desires and feelings by a mere clever
placing of some chicken, asparagus and ketchup. Also, the name of the product
being advertised is itself ‘Hot’ ketchup and the brand has managed to portray hot
in every way possible. Hot – as in chicken hot or chicken wings hot and even hot,
as in, hot lady on a bed of cabbage!
This advertisement is, basically, HOT symbolism at its best.
- Nikita Shroff (1537147)
Chetna Sethia (1537138)