Watch out ketchup – Hidden Valley is coming for you.
In a new, straight-forward marketing campaign, the purveyor of the famous ranch dressing is taking the ubiquitous condiment head on.
As you can see from the bottle above, Hidden Valley wants to be the “new ketchup” for the American consumer.
I like the aggressive messaging of this campaign, and I agree that there is an opportunity for the company. We all know that ranch dressing goes on far more than salads, and has been a prime dipping destination for chicken wings, pizza crusts, french fries, and other things, for a long time.
As a result, Hidden Valley has made a slightly thicker version, and put their white ooze in a squeezable bottle, hoping to appear within reach of both restaurant and kitchen tables in the near future.
However, while I think the idea and campaign have some potential, I have two concerns:
1. It is going to be hard to make ranch a success in restaurants because it needs to be refrigerated (the dairy component). Conversely, ketchup is far more liberal in the temperature department. That said , I have no doubt that Clorox (parent of Hidden Valley) has a team of scientists working ’round the clock on a temperature-resistant formula. I can’t wait to see that ingredient list – I might have to find my high school chemistry textbook. Speaking of ingredients…
2. Hidden Valley did not become a well-known brand by caring about people’s health. My problem here is that if ranch becomes even more accessible than it is now, how much fatter are people going to get? If diners see ranch dressing on the table next to the ketchup and salt and pepper, they are not going to start getting any skinnier, that’s for sure. I know this comes down to personal choice, but it bugs me. Have you seen the nutritional info and ingredient list on a bottle of ranch recently? Example: 2 tablespoons = 14g fat. [Heinz ketchup? 0g fat.] As I write this, Leon is getting laaaarger.
So what do you think? Do you like the campaign? As a consumer, would you be happier knowing that your constant access to ranch dressing is just that much closer? Does ranch really taste like desperation? Talk to me, readers.
H/t to the WSJ for the news and the top bottle.