For Matt Cozza of Chicago, art imitates life. A personal experience he had one day while waiting for a bottle of Heinz Ketchup served as the inspiration for what Heinz announced as the grand prize winner in its Heinz “Top This” TV Challenge Take Two consumer-generated ad contest. His entry, “Now We Can Eat,” was voted by consumers as the best of 10 semifinalists, making him the winner of 57,000 and a 30-second spot on national TV.
The idea for the winning video was sparked by an incident at a Michigan restaurant where Cozza was grabbing a bite to eat with friends. When the Heinz Ketchup-loving group sat down and discovered they were missing a bottle of Heinz Ketchup, they swiped one from a nearby table. Details about the contest were printed on the bottle, and the idea for “Now We Can Eat,” was born.
In Cozza’s winning video, much like his own personal experience, a man and woman sit down in a restaurant and realize there’s no Heinz Ketchup on the table. The pair is dismayed as they look around for an extra bottle. Finally, a server swings by their table, dropping off a bottle of Heinz Ketchup and the tagline “now we can eat” flashes on the screen.
The contest was the sequel to the “Top This” contest launched last year. From April 7 – 21, 2008, consumers logged on to TopThisTV.com to vote for their favorite commercial. Cozza, a 25-year-old graduate of film and video production at Northwestern University, edged out more than 2,000 qualified entries. “We decided to enter the contest because my friends are somewhat obsessed with Heinz Ketchup, and like to have it ready before the food even arrives,” Cozza said. “We thought it would be difficult to win, but in the end, it all paid off.”
Cozza’s ad, along with four runner-up ads, will air nationally this spring and summer on the Food Network, Fine Living Network and on closed-circuit TV at Six Flags theme parks nationwide. The runners up also will receive 5,700 each.