Heinz puts Super Bowl’s use of Roman numerals on trial

January 30, 2023

International food producer Heinz is having some fun around the number 57 that appears on its tomato ketchup bottles—tying it in with this year’s 57th annual Super Bowl (or LVII, as it’s branded), reports Adweek.

Heinz 57 is an iconic piece of advertising—referring to the number of different varieties offered by the food company. It was first introduced to promote the number of different pickles that Heinz sold in 1896. However, according to the Smithsonian Magazinethe number actually doesn’t refer to anything.

Ahead of the Super Bowl in February, Heinz is choosing to educate fans on reading Roman numerals, explaining that “LVII Meanz 57” and calling on the National Football League to adopt standard numbers instead.

It claims that last year, hundreds of social media users complained about their confusion over using Roman numerals. So, to help, it has launched a dedicated campaign website to allow fans to vote for whether the organizers should retire their use.

A hashtag, #LVIIMeanz57, has also been created to amplify the messaging across social media as well.

Alyssa Cicero, brand manager for Heinz, says: “The annual return of these impractical Roman numerals consistently leave fans vexed and perplexed.

“For over 100 years, Heinz has been synonymous with the number 57, and this year, Big Game LVII is too,” she added. “What better time for Heinz to use its iconic and trademarked 57 to modernize this practice and clarify that ‘LVII Meanz 57?’ We know viewers across North America are invested in this, and we want to use our platform to elevate their frustrations.”

To commemorate the crossover in numbers, special limited edition ketchup bottles featuring “LVII Meanz 57” in place of where the number “57” usually sits have been released. Those who vote in the poll will be given the chance to win one of the bottles to incentivize their involvement.

The vote will be open until the day of the Super Bowl February 12 and will be amplified using OOH and across Heinz’s social media channels.

Research contact: @Adweek