Heinz Rolls Out the Free Fries and Ketchup, Food Truck Included

It seems even marketers are getting in on the food-truck fever that has infected every major U.S. city. In yesterday's New York Times, Tanzina Vega wrote an excellent article about corporations jumping on the mobile food vending bandwagon, among them HSBC. The international mega-bank wrapped some of New York City's favorite food trucks with ads. HSBC customers who showed their cards were rewarded with free foodstuffs.

But near the middle of the piece was a mention of the H.J. Heinz Co.'s efforts to promote its newest product, Dip & Squeeze Ketchup, including a food-truck tour supported by Facebook and Twitter campaigns. The Ketchup Truck's four-city road trip began in Pittsburgh, company headquarters, on November 18. It will end in the Dallas are, an urban area with late-onset food truck mania, on December 9 and include locations like the Fort Worth Stockyards, Knox-Henderson, Lower Greenville, Deep Ellum, and near Cowboys Stadium for Sunday's game. Curiously absent from the list of possible locations is the Arts District, a part of the city extremely receptive to food trucks. Veletta Forsythe Lill, Arts District executive director and the voice of food-truck proponents, told City of Ate she wasn't aware of the Ketchup Truck until we contacted her for comment. Lill said, "I'm glad to know we're on the map. Food trucks are a perfect ambassadors of goodwill, doing so in a fun way."

Diversion is one of the many factors behind the promotion. "Fans have been asking for a chance to try it so we wanted to find a fun way for them to experience this innovative package in a real and fun way. Dip & Squeeze was designed based on consumer feedback and desire for a package that would made eating on-the-go easier," said Jessica Jackson, the group head of public relations and communications at Heinz North America.

Visitors to Heinz's kitchen on wheels will get a free serving of Ore-Ida brand crinkle-cut fries or sweet potato fries along with a pack of the new Dip & Squeeze ketchup product.

Asked why Dallas was chosen as the final stop on the tour, "Dallas was chosen in part because we have so many fans on the Heinz Ketchup Facebook page who are located in the area. We also took into consideration the local events already scheduled to occur in Dallas the weekend we would be in the area. Our goal is to get Heinz Dip and Squeeze in the hands of as many fans as possible and we believe Dallas provides us good reach for engagement," Jackson further noted.

It's not an independent labor of love like Michael Siegel's Green House Truck. However, the fact that even corporations are taking note of Dallasites'desire for food trucks makes the city council's slothful attitude toward addressing antiquated codes and the wants of the citizenry, all the more disappointing -- although the city government is beginning to take notice.

Follow the truck on Twitter (@DipandSqueeze) and check out company's Facebook page for specific details on the truck's whereabouts and related social-media promotions.

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José Ralat Maldonado

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