Heinz 57 is a synecdoche of the historical advertising slogan "57 Varieties" by the H. J. Heinz Company located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It was developed from the marketing campaign that told consumers about the numerous products available from the Heinz company.
Henry J. Heinz introduced the marketing slogan "57 pickle Varieties" in 1896. He later claimed he was inspired by an advertisement he saw while riding an elevated train in New York City (a shoe store boasting "21 styles"). The reason for "57" is unclear. Heinz said he chose "5" because it was his lucky number and the number "7" was his wife's lucky number. However, Heinz also said the number "7" was selected specifically because of the "psychological influence of that figure and of its enduring significance to people of all ages". Whatever the reasons, Heinz wanted the company to advertise the greatest number of choices of pickles. In fact by 1892, four years before the slogan was created, the Heinz company was already selling more than 60 products.
The first product to be promoted under the new "57 varieties" slogan was prepared horseradish. By 1940, the term "Heinz 57" had become so synonymous with the company the name was used to market a steak sauce.
The relatively high viscosity and thixotropic nature of ketchup can make pouring it from a glass bottle somewhat difficult and unpredictable, and several urban legends surrounding this phenomenon have arisen. According to one popular folk remedy, repeatedly hitting the "57" mark on a glass Heinz ketchup bottle makes the ketchup pour out more quickly and easily. The New York Times suggests this is a matter of intentional design, with Heinz having placed the "57" mark on that particular spot of the bottle as a target for consumers to hit. According to the Heinz website, only 11% of people know this trick.
In Edmund Morris' The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, xxvi, he says, “His ability to find common strains of ancestry with voters has earned him the nickname of ‘Old Fifty-seven Varieties.” Though it is not clear at what point in his career this was said of him.
In 1928, jazz pianist and bandleader Earl "Fatha" Hines recorded his composition "57 Varieties".
In UK betting terminology, a 'Heinz' refers to a full-cover bet of doubles and upwards, consisting of six selections. It is known as a Heinz because there are 57 multiples (15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfolds, 6 fivefolds and 1 sixfold) within the bet.
Heinz 57 figures in the plot of the novel The Manchurian Candidate when antagonist Mrs. Iselin lights upon a bottle of the product and adopts the number as an easy one for husband Senator John Iselin to remember as the number of Communists he charges with being employed by the State Department. The 1962 film adaptation retains this, with a bottle of Heinz 57 sauce appearing on-screen moments before John Iselin cites the number in a speech.
Former NHL player Steve Heinze requested to wear #57 when he was drafted by the Boston Bruins. However, the Bruins general manager Harry Sinden denied his request, stating that only Ray Bourque (#77) could wear an unorthodox number. Instead, Heinze wore #23 in Boston. He was granted #57 when he joined the Columbus Blue Jackets and he wore it for the remainder of his NHL career.
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