Heinz is giving its employees the day off on the Monday after the Super Bowl. And it wants you to have the day off too. It’s an idea designed to be as popular as ketchup on French fries.
“We are trying to rally people around the idea that the day after the big game should really be a day to celebrate,” Nicole Kulwicki, head of Heinz brands, tells USA TODAY Sports. “And in fact it should be a national holiday, which we have lovingly named ‘Smunday.’ ”
Heinz is asking supporters to sign a petition at www.smunday.org and the company says if it gets over 100,000 that it will send the petition to Congress.
The tone of the campaign is a joke. (“Sign it. For your sanity. For your family. For your country.”) But Kulwicki insists it is a serious effort. The petition says 16 million people call in sick or just don’t show up the day after the Super Bowl, which it is careful to call “the Big Game.” That’s because Heinz is not a Super Bowl advertiser.
People in the industry call this sort of thing ambush marketing, where a brand tries to associate itself with an event although it is not paying to be a sponsor.
“I have not used that term before,” Kulwicki says. “We are calling it a grass-roots effort.”
Heinz produced an online spot — it won’t run on TV — with talking ketchup and mustard containers that it will promote on social and digital media.
“We would have loved it if the Steelers were in it, Pittsburgh being the home of Heinz,” Kulwicki says. “But we are still rallying around (New England and Atlanta) and are excited for the big game.”
January and November are already two-holiday months. February, the shortest month, has Presidents’ Day. Does it really need another national holiday?
“The Monday after the game is one of the worst days of the year,” Kulwicki says. “Nobody wants to go to work the day after.”