Why Heinz UK Is Apologizing For Its New Pasta Sauces

Do you have any Heinz products in your house right now? We're willing to bet that you do, and it's probably a condiment in a plastic bottle. The most used ketchup brand in the United States, Heinz also sells a number of other products, such as yellow mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce, relish, and vinegar ... basically, if you're having a cookout, the chances are high that you've got some Heinz on hand.

There's no debating that when people think of ketchup, they immediately think of Heinz, but how about pasta sauce? According to AdWeek, the iconic condiment brand is launching a new line of pasta sauces — including Bolognese and Mediterranean varieties — in the U.K., and in its advertising for the new products, Heinz is actually apologizing for the new venture.

Wait, what?

Heinz is apologizing for not making its new pasta sauces sooner

In a cheeky ad campaign hitting the U.K., condiment giant Heinz is saying sorry — for not launching its new line of pasta sauces sooner. According to AdWeek, the maker of everyone's favorite ketchup is running a series of ads for the new sauces that focus on the "ridiculous" amount of time it took Heinz to come up with such a self-evident idea.

"150 years late. 7 ways to apologize," reads a billboard London, referring to the seven pasta sauces in the line: Bolognese; tomato and chili; tomato, mushroom, and bell pepper; Mediterranean; tomato and lentil ragu; sundried cherry tomato and basil; and tomato, Grana Padano, and mascarpone. "Ridiculously late. Ridiculously good," reads a tagline at the bottom of the ad.

Heinz was founded back in 1869, the year the new ads reference, and though the company possesses so-called "tomato expertise," it has never sold pasta sauce until now. "At Heinz we've been growing tomatoes on the finest farmland for over a century. Searching for excellence and the most exquisite taste experience means growing lots of tomatoes ... Despite all this, we have not done a pasta sauce," reads the ad.

Heinz's campaign is the most recent in a long line of 'apology ads'

As noted by AdWeek, Heinz's tongue-in-cheek new ads are an example in the well-established genre of "apology ads," when companies say sorry for marketing items that have failed, been dangerous to consumers, or haven't satisfied customer expectations. (These can be either serious or a joke, as is the case with the Heinz's recent ad campaign.) A famous example the outlet notes is KFC's award-winning ad that ran in the U.K. in 2018, when many of the fried chicken chain's locations had to close due to a meat shortage. Below an image of an empty fried chicken bucket with the letters "FCK" printed on it, a short text read, "We're sorry. A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It's not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who traveled out of their way to find we were closed," CNN reported at the time.

The new Heinz ads hit that light-hearted tone in a similar way. "After 150 years we've combined our unrivaled tomato expertise with natural ingredients," the brand's long-form ad reads. "Creating probably the best pasta sauce you've ever tasted. We know it's ridiculous, our Heinz Pasta Sauce is simply too good to have been launched this late. We hope you'll see that it was worth the wait."