Food & Beverage

Heinz learns why you don't mess with Chicago's strict hot dog tradition

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Key Points
  • Chicago hot dogs adhere to a strict no-ketchup policy.
  • Heinz rebranded its classic tomato ketchup as "Chicago Dog Sauce" in an attempt to show people the red sauce might not ruin their hot dogs the way they think it would.
  • People assailed the campaign on Twitter.
Heinz rebranded its tomato ketchup as "Chicago Dog Sauce" to try and convince Chicagoans to put the red sauce on its hot dogs.
Source: Kraft Heinz

You can't trick Chicagoans into putting an old foe on its cherished hot dogs, Kraft Heinz learned the hard way Tuesday.

In Chicago, hot dogs are topped with yellow mustard, green relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, a pickle, sport peppers and celery salt. They are never to be topped with ketchup.

The rule is almost religion in the city, to the dismay of ketchup maker Heinz. The Pennsylvania-based condiment company, which merged with Chicago-based Kraft in 2015, tried to convince people to try its new "Chicago dog sauce" for National Hot Dog Day on Wednesday.

People featured in Heinz's promotional video liked the condiment they tasted, until they were told the "new" sauce was actually their nemesis in disguise. People on the internet didn't even bother to give the product a try before ridiculing Heinz's promotion.

One person tweeted: Never in a million years will you find such a condiment on my hot dog. Nice try Heinz, but it's a huge no for me.

Another person tweeted: You got a lot of damn nerve trying to hoist that crap on our Chicago hot dogs. #HotGarbage #Columbusing

Some took offense to the promotion. One person suggested that Heinz pump its dog sauce somewhere crude.

Not everyone was upset. Though they were far outnumbered, some people cheered the campaign as an opportunity for them to profess their forbidden love.

One person tweeted: Thanks for allowing us ketchup on our hot dog Chicagoans to emerge from the shadows. The struggle is real here in the Windy City!

Heinz may not have gotten the reception it wanted, but it certainly attracted Chicago's attention.

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