I’m a serious ketchup-phile. I simply love the stuff. I slather it on hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, steak (yes, steak!), meatloaf, and many other dishes and sides.
But ketchup had lost some of its luster, ever since John Kerry, husband of Teresa HEINZ Kerry, became the Democrat’s nominee for President. Knowing that I was funding an unspeakable harridan with every drop of delicious red goodness left me feeling ambivalent about the whole thing.
Should I kick the ketchup habit? Should I resort to using mustard on my hot dogs, A1 on my steaks, and mayo on my fries?
Luckily, as I was still wrestling with this dilemma, I discovered that the arrogant Heinz elite finally had some worthwhile competition on their hands. (Hunts, for the record, is utterly vile, and therefore does not count as a true competitor for ketchup supremacy.)
W Ketchup™ is the aforementioned competition. And their CEO, Dan Oliver, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions
Twelve Questions For Dan Oliver:
1 – Who’s idea was it to create a “conservative” brand of ketchup to compete with Teresa Heinz Kerry’s market leading Heinz brand?
In early April, my sister, Susie, and another friend, Stacey Hughes, were visiting my friend Bill Zachary at his house in upstate New York, located in Washington County. We were having a barbecue, and as we were squirting Heinz on our lunch, we realized that a small portion was going to Teresa Heinz Kerry and the causes she supports. Well, being good free-market Republicans, we thought America deserved a choice.
2 – When did you first begin to offer your product for sale?
We launched our product with a full page ad in the June 28th edition of National Review, the Reagan edition as it sadly turned out, which hit newsstands around the June 16th, or at least that’s when the traffic volume to our Website first became noticeable.
3 – What kind of volume of product have you moved thus far?
When we started this, we discovered the minimum order was 48,000 bottles. That’s a lot of ketchup. We thought there was no possible way we could sell that many, and so we expected to lose most, if not all, of our money, and then donate the excess ketchup to a worthy cause. We were really doing this have some fun and shake things up a bit. As it turns out, in two months we’ve sold over 100,000 bottles, nearly all over the Internet.
4 – Why should non-Kerry supporters buy your product, instead of, say, Hunt’s (other than the fact that Hunt’s tastes like the backside of a red river hog), or a store-brand?
If there had been a viable alternative to Heinz, I’m not sure we would have spent so much time and effort doing this. The reality is that Heinz controls most of the ketchup market, and most of the other brands just don’t taste very good. I think to most Americans, Hunt’s just says cheap. What we are offering is a premium product that actually tastes better than Heinz. And one look at our label shows that our product supports an image of America that most ketchup eaters agree with. The flag, George Washington, minutemen, guns: that’s what America is really about at its core. Guns don’t symbolize criminal machismo, as liberals would have people believe, they symbolize masculine responsibility and limited government, two things the liberals on the coasts hate, and two of the main pillars of America. Our ad campaign works because it’s sincere. We do support these things, and that comes through, and that’s why we’ve had such a tremendous response.
5 – Any luck yet in getting major supermarket chains to place your product on their shelves?
We are talking to a few chains. As we’ve discovered, the food industry works on razor thin margins and long-term relationships. It’s frustrating because we get a lot of calls from restaurants and smaller chains that want to carry W Ketchup, but with high shipping costs and no distribution centers, it’s hard for us to get it to them at a price that makes sense. Hopefully, as we expand, we can solve those issues and make sure everyone who wants W Ketchup can have it!
6 – I just purchased a four-pack of your product from your Website. When it arrives in a few days, how will it differ in taste from Heinz?
Just about every American takes Heinz for granted. I certainly did. It wasn’t until our taste test that I realized what a harsh and vinegary taste Heinz has. W Ketchup has a smoother, more interesting taste. We have been at taste tests where the token Democrats strain and sweat, trying to make sure they choose Heinz. It’s pretty easy to tell which one is Heinz because of all the vinegar. Well, when neutral parties are choosing, W usually wins.
7 – You state that a portion of every sale goes to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, a charity that provides college scholarships to the children of military personnel killed in the line of duty. Exactly how much do you donate per $3.00 bottle of ketchup?
I can’t answer your question exactly, because our price structure has the cost per bottle dramatically decline per additional bottle. We did it this way to encourage people to give W away to their friends, as we think the more W that’s out there the better for everyone. We donate 5% of our profits to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, and we like to think we’ve given them a lot of publicity. We’ve also donated ketchup to the New Hampshire National Guard Family Assistance Program, for the wives whose husbands are in Iraq, and sell ketchup at cost to other worthy causes. The men and woman in uniform are making such a tremendous sacrifice for our country right now, you can’t do too much to support them.
8 – Any predictions on the November election?
Bush wins big. No one likes Kerry, not even Democrats (and especially not Hillary). They only support him because they’re rabidly anti-Bush. That’s fine for polls, but when election day rolls around, and it’s raining, and cold, and there’s a long line, and you’re busy, I think it’s tough to spend the time to vote against someone (unless someone’s offering you free booze or cigarettes, of course). On the other hand, judging from the response we’ve had, I think people are pretty committed to Bush. I think they’ll turn out, especially after staring at “W” all summer!
9 – Do you predict your sales would be better with a “W” or a “Heinz” occupying the White House for the next four years?
I actually don’t think it matters in terms of sales. If Kerry wins, there will be a lot of unhappy people in the red states who are going to have to watch Teresa Heinz Kerry on the news every evening. That can’t be good for Heinz sales, and can only help us. If Bush wins, well, I think that would be the best thing for ketchup fans everywhere.
10 – One of the main uses of ketchup is on fries. Do you refer to them as “French fries” or “Freedom fries”?
What do you think?
11 – How you do feel about those odd people who refer to ketchup as “catsup”?
We are going after every segment of the ketchup market, those who spell it “ketchup,” “catsup,” even “catchup,” except, of course, those who support Kerry.
12 – Wanna talk any smack about Ms. Heinz Kerry (in the spirit of friendly competition, of course)?
I think the role of a first lady is to be a unifying force and support America in ways everyone can agree on, in terms of style, taste, charity, and culture. Hillary Clinton may disparage that as nothing more than “baking cookies,” but there’s nothing wrong with cookies, and supporting the country in a non-partisan way is the proper role for a first lady. Laura Bush has been an excellent first lady, and I don’t think the country wants to see someone in that role who self-professes to be oPINIonated, assaults reporters, and uses her dead husband’s money to try to buy a thrice-scratched-in-Vietnam play-boy the highest office in the land.
I recently received my shipment of W Ketchup™ and have already given it a try. And I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
I was expecting inedible glop akin to the garbage produced by the people at Hunts. However, “W” is not only able to compete with Heinz, it’s better than Heinz.
(In my opinion, of course. It’s entirely subjective. But I think you should give “W” a try, and see if you don’t agree!)
Click here for the W Ketchup™ Website
Click here to buy some of their fine ketchup/catsup/catchup/whatever
Click here to read about their first donation to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
Click here to read about their donation to the New Hampshire National Guard