How Heinz won the Super Bowl by Punting

Super Bowl Sunday is the day of the year that marketers truly relish: The day when EVERYONE turns on the TV just to watch their ads. Taken as a whole, this year’s crop seemed just okay to say the least. From political statements that tried to unite but may have actually divided to humor that fell flat, I don’t think there are too many companies that are looking at an earth-shattering ROI on their substantial investment.


Except perhaps for one that decided not to play. Kraft Heinz opted to take the money they would have spent on a Super Bowl commercial and use it to give all of their salaried employees – more than 42,000 – a paid day off on Super Bowl Monday. They went so far as to launch a social media campaign (complete with a truly funny video) and petition calling for “Smunday” to be a national holiday that has garnered 65,082 signatures as I write this.

While “Smunday” might not have the impact of a Tom Brady-esque super bowl spot, it definitely gave the company some fabulous PR for a league minimum price. (The only thing I wish they would have done differently is to give their hourly factory employees a day off as well, or switch it from salary to hourly if budget was truly an issue. That would have scored huge points in an era when everyone is trying to cater to blue collar workers, voters and customers.)

Overall, “Smunday” represents the kind of creative, out-of-the-box marketing that we love to see our clients learn from and adapt to their own businesses.

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