Is French’s ketchup Canada’s brand of choice, or just Ontario’s?

by | Mar 28, 2016 | Analysis, Food and Beverage

First let me state that I realize that a lot of people might be fatigued by the French’s ketchup story, so this will probably be my last post on the issue. However, I would also like to point out that MediaMiser was recently quoted in a story by Vanessa Lu of the Toronto Star. Like French’s ketchup, we can’t be blamed for squeezing the last bit of exposure out.

And in all fairness, MediaMiser has been following the French’s ketchup love-in for the past month.

It’s one of those good-news stories that gets around social media, and that the traditional media loves to cover, because it is somewhat of a ‘David versus Goliath’ drama.

It’s the story of a how a huge multinational brand (Heinz) left a small Ontario town (Leamington) and how that town was eventually rescued by Highbury Canco Corp. and French’s ketchup.

To add to the underdog narrative, Brian Fernandez, a construction worker from Orillia, Ontario, was the everyman who took to Facebook to highlight the issue. His post went viral, being shared 133,500 times, and soon caught the attention of the traditional media.

Brian Fernandez became a Canadian hero and French’s was elevated to Canada’s brand of choice for ketchup.

But is French’s ketchup Canada’s brand of choice, or just Ontario’s?

This is the question we asked ourselves when preparing for the interview with the Toronto Star.

According to our Twitter data, 66 per cent of all tweets emanated from Ontario. Despite being Canada’s largest province (38.5% of the population), this proportion was curiously high.

At MediaMiser, we attributed this disparity to the amount of traditional media coverage from print, radio, and television coverage that also originated from Ontario sources. After all, it was an Ontario town that was saved by French’s, and that’s what the media focused on.

However, it was also interesting to see that the second-most Twitter activity came from Alberta, the fourth-largest province in Canada.

provinces sov chart

When we pointed this out to Ms. Lu, she wondered aloud if people from Alberta, because of the economic downturn that province has seen since “the bottom fell out the oil barrel”, could relate to the ‘David versus Goliath’ narrative.

The jury is still out on just who loves French’s ketchup the most, but it’s asking these questions and making these connections that media monitoring and analysis is all about.


Featured in:

Toronto StarGuelph Mercury, Our Windsor, The Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton Community News, Cambridge Times

Brett Serjeantson


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