Heinz By Nature welcomes the first lockdown babies

The relaunched Kraft Heinz baby food brand is giving out COVID-inspired merch to stand out in a category with no clear leader.

lockdown-baby2Even though what some predicted would be a COVID baby boom turned out to be less so, Heinz by Nature is welcoming Canada’s first “lockdown babies” with swag and reaffirming its natural food messaging.

This Friday marks nine months since the first pandemic lockdown measures began, so Kraft Heinz’s recently rebranded baby food line is celebrating Canada’s first 1,000 babies conceived during the pandemic with a limited-edition line of baby clothes called “The Lockdown Lovebaby Collection,” available free to parents of any baby born on December 18.

The swag, created in partnership with ad agency No Fixed Address, includes a lineup of onesies and bibs stitched with cheeky lines like, “I was my parents’ quarantine craft project,” and “while you were hoarding TP my parents were making me.” New parents can claim their merch online.

When Heinz By Nature was rolled out this past August, its positioning was built around being natural, based on insights that nearly two-thirds of parents are drawn to “natural” foods, versus one half who were interested in an “organic” distinction.

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Heena Verma, senior marketing manager, brand build and innovation at Kraft Heinz Canada, says parents are reading labels in baby foods much more than in other categories, and that calling out the “natural” attributes is key in a space that’s very competitive, with a mix of challenger brands, established CPG brands and no single dominant player. She adds that the new “Kraft By Nature” branding is tracking well across its social channels and getting positive consumer feedback.

This campaign is informed by Angus Reid insights that one-third of Canadians either announced or know someone who’s announced their pregnancy, and most of the merch combines quips about pandemic activities with the brand’s “natural” positioning. Verma says welcoming the first batch of COVID babies in a unique time in human history is the kind of celebration new parents will appreciate and take notice of.

“Having a baby nine months to the day of the lockdown may make some parents blush — everyone knows what went down in March 2020,” Verma says. But given that it’s only “natural,” she says the brand couldn’t resist drawing attention to it. But a permanent apparel line is not in the offing, Verma says, unless consumers really take to it.

The Lockdown Lovebaby Collection is primarily a digital and social-led campaign, with a soft launch this week. It is being promoted on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, including partnerships with new and soon-to-be influencer moms, as well as YouTube spots highlighting “the Quarantine Birds and the Bees.”

Starcom is the media agency and Salt XC is managing social.