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HEINZ Tomato Ketchup Estd 1869

March 18, 2009

Sample #6

Six crazy packets of Heinz Tomato Ketchup were to be my next find on the snowy 1st night of March, 2009. That Sunday evening had already revealed 4 other exciting items, and as I came across this array of ketchup packets colorfully littering the sidewalk near the intersection of Maryland and North Ave. at 6:58pm I was excited to find that these were not your traditional ketchup related treasures!

As I approached them I was anticipating to find the usual run-of-the mill ketchup packet graced with a nicely illustrated bottle of Heinz or perhaps the McDonald’s or Burger King design variations of “Fancy Ketchup” that I’ve become accustomed to all these years. But lo and behold… an unexpected selection of eye-candy awaited me in the dark Baltimore night.

You might imagine my glee at the discovery of the scintillating little illustrations printed on these rare samples. (That’s right, RARE trash my friends!) I don’t ever recall getting too excited about ketchup packets before, but this discovery has certainly piqued my interest in collecting condiment packets in much the same way the latest version of Nike Air Force 1s sends sneaker heads reeling.

This new found excitement is rather contradictory to my usual mindset concerning condiments (specifically ketchup) packaged in such a manner. I’m generally opposed to ketchup packets on the principle that they are typically the only method of getting ketchup in many fast food restaurants. I find that when there is no ketchup dispenser available that I have to tear open several packets just to get all the ketchup I want for my fries! The resulting pile of packaging waste is nothing short of frustrating.

Perhaps an argument could be waged against the alternate outcome of wasting ketchup, but I still insist that it wouldn’t hurt to consider enlarging the size of the standard ketchup packet. Seriously, when was the last time you used only one? Secondly, I don’t really think we should be loosing sleep over the notion of wasted ketchup, especially not Heinz, since there is probably more high fructose corn syrup in their blend than “Red Ripe Tomatoes.” As you should know, making your body attempt to digest high fructose corn syrup is like asking mother earth to break down styrofoam; it’s just a cheap, processed-food, sugar substitute that shouldn’t exist.

Now for a break…

Cats-up… Ketch-up… Cats-up… Ketch-up… Cats-up… Ketch-up… Catch my drift? If not you really need to watch episode 21 from season 8 of the Simpsons. Watch the full episode here. Or if you’d rather just catch up, fast forward to 8:07 on the loader bar. As far as I’m concerned, the more ways to spell something the better! Poor Monty Burns.

On to addressing the designs of these little wonders… First, who can argue with awesome drawings done by little kids and high school students? When I initially grabbed these babies I was convinced the artwork was done by professional designers contracted by Heinz, but no! Wrong again! Obviously the boys and girls were given a pre-drawn Heinz bottle to use in their designs as well as a restricted palette of colors – certainly a smart decision as it allows all the packets to operate as set. Nevertheless I am still very impressed with the spunky and whimsical nature of the art produced by each student.

My personal favorite is the Hungry Psycho Tomato, with it’s eyes keenly set on it’s target: a rainbow spewing ketchup bottle floating amidst a checkered orb. Perhaps I played a bit too much Sonic 2 when I was a kid, but this trippy insanity just resonates with me on so many levels. The Mustachioed Song & Dance Fellow is also terribly charming with his green top hat and cane. I think he would be the perfect host for a condiment comedy hour, don’t you? And what of the triangle mania going on in the simple, yet equally engaging mosaic-style packet? I certainly appreciate the hand-drawn touch of the non-uniform triangles. Lastly, we mustn’t neglect the happy, and Talented French Fry! This French guy certainly has a knack for interpretation, as most french artists do, but I’m sure he’s the first to see a ketchup bottle in the Eiffel Tower.

All I have left to say is well done Heinz. But why didn’t you sponsor this amazing contest when I was younger? Perhaps there is still time! I just need to create a 5th grade alias of myself… But while I busy myself with that, I must say that despite my distaste for the present state of ketchup, my form over function approach to design demands that I vouch for these super cool and fun ketchup containers… just not the small menial amount of “ketchup” contained in them.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2009 9:53 PM

    Holy mamba jamba! Those are freaking awesome! I’m so jealous of your endless design eagle eye. You always find stuff like this when no one else is paying attention! AH!

  2. March 18, 2009 11:31 PM

    Well I do like poking around where others don’t often tread! I’ve come to find there are definitely treasures to be found where you least expect.

  3. Chris Lacoste permalink
    June 17, 2009 10:16 PM

    It’s not a “psycho tomato.”

  4. June 18, 2009 1:51 AM

    Sorry Chris! Well since you’re the artist you have complete jurisdiction on the matter, and the right to underwrite my nonsensical commentary. I apologize for carelessly mislabeling your tomato. Either way that is one cool fruit!

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