On January 26, 2017, the third-largest food and beverage company in North America, Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ: KHC)—best known for its array of condiments such as Tomato Ketchup, Yellow Mustard, and Velveeta Cheese—announced to the internet that it was petitioning for the Monday after the Super Bowl to become a national holiday dubbed “Smunday.” Claiming that the Monday after the Super Bowl is the worst Monday of the year, Heinz has promised to give all salaried employees the day off and wants the rest of America to join in (they’ve even set up a petition). All of this in place of airing a commercial during Super Bowl 51, with air time prices at $5 million for just 30 seconds, perhaps Heinz’s motivation for “Smunday” lies outside its benevolence for salaried employees.
Heinz “Smunday” Fumble
Does a day off from work for Heinz employees really make consumers want to buy more Heinz products?
Although clever and on-brand, “Smunday” might not have had the impact the company was hoping for. The “Smunday” Youtube spot has just over 550,000 views (at the time of this article). Considering Super Bowl L’s 111.9 million viewers in the United States, the Heinz spot falls far below the reach of the standard Super Bowl ad. In addition, “Smunday,” attempting to connect with both internal and external stakeholders, misaligns with their individual needs. Yes, this was the first Super Bowl in history to go into overtime, and many viewers painstakingly woke up for work the following Monday, but if the company’s intent was to reach the masses, a commercial might have been a better investment. If the intention was to give their well-deserving employees the day off, they should have framed the YouTube spot as such.
From an Employer Brand, how would I have positioned “Smunday”?
Employees first. Period. Because employees are a company’s best advocate. Had Heinz framed “Smunday” as an effort to say “thank you” to employees for dedicating their work towards the enjoyment of sporting events, the ad might have been more successful. But because employees were more of an afterthought, there was a disconnect between the ad and the act.
I would have positioned “Smunday” as such: “Heinz is committed to making sports-spectatorship the ultimate experience, because without the perfect sports foods and condiments, what really is the Super Bowl? At Heinz, we dedicate our business to this idea, and our employees work hard to make Super Bowl Sunday the best Sunday of the year. As a thank you to our employees for their hard work, we’re giving them the Monday after the Super Bowl off and encouraging America to follow suit.”
In recruitment and while forming an Employer Brand, people are paramount. In Quartz Magazine, Harvard Business School states, “The most valuable part of your company is the
people—the human capital—and any plans to move your business forward have to start there.” Genuinely investing in your employees will put you ahead of the competition. If Heinz employees view “Smunday” as an investment in their work and not a publicity stunt, “Smunday” might just be a touchdown.