Is the Heinz ketchup bottle good design?

posted by Jason Kottke Apr 13, 2009

If the glass Heinz ketchup bottle were introduced today, it would likely be disparaged because it doesn't work very well as a ketchup dispenser. But since it's been around so long, people love it.

Like the Apple iPod, a Rawlings baseball and 3M's Post-it Notes, Heinz Ketchup is a rare example of a best-selling brand that is also generally considered to be best in class. It would seem silly to splash out on a more expensive alternative, especially as the glass bottle affirms its stellar status.

That is why Heinz Tomato Ketchup is one of the very few branded products you see in its original packaging in expensive restaurants. "Sometimes we have to accept that we can't better something that already exists," said Jeremy King, who co-owns The Wolseley in London and is now re-opening The Monkey Bar in New York. "When a customer asks for ketchup they generally want Heinz. The iconic glass bottle reassures them that they are getting it." Quite a coup for something that does not really do its job properly.

ps. He-ketchup for manly men.

Update: Daniel Eatock Everything Heinz project:

An edition of 57 sealed cans each containing a composite mix of 57 Heinz canned foods.

(thx, andy)