New ketchup in new bottles

You may have read a Malcolm Gladwell essay in which he compared the markets for mustard and ketchup.  There are all kinds of competitors in the mustard space. Ketchup?  Not so much, because Heinz produces a ketchup with pretty close to a perfectly-balanced taste.

That article inspired a couple of guys to see if they could prove Gladwell wrong. And they have, to some extent. In April, Unilever purchased Sir Kensington’s, the brainchild of Scott Norton and Mark Ramadan.  Sir Kensington’s doesn’t really try to compete on taste. But they do have a couple of things that set the brand apart.  One is a wide-mouth jar that lets you scoop out a perfectly-sized dollop.  And second is the brand identity and packaging, built around a charming old chap who looks like he just walked off the set of Downton Abbey.

A great example of the increasing importance of design in building a brand. (For the complete story of Sir Kensington’s, check out this NPR interview with one of the founders.)