Dan Rattiner's Stories

Hamptons Moments: Heinz Ketchup Code Leads to Porn Site

At a table in LT Burger on Main Street in Sag Harbor, waiting for my cheeseburger, I read the label of a bottle of Heinz Ketchup. There was an offer on it. If I would scan the ketchup bottle, it would take me to a site where I could send a “thank you” e-card to a wounded warrior, and if I did that, they, Heinz, would donate $1 (and another 57 cents for a social media share) to the Wounded Warrior Project charity. TOGETHER WE CAN SERVE…SAY THANKS & WE’LL DONATE, the bottle said. I thought I would like to do that, but scanning my ketchup bottle was something I didn’t know how to do, and anyway, this was not my ketchup bottle. Also, after that, my burger arrived.

That was on Thursday. Today, Sunday, I get a copy of The New York Post, which has a headline for a small article that reads HEINZ GETS ITS HEINIE PINCHED BY SMUT SITE.

Turns out that the offer, like most offers, had an expiration date. And the time to take part in the offer had expired. However, the executive at Heinz who was running this contest simply abandoned the website they owned, letting the domain expire when the contest ended in 2014. What would happen if I scanned the bottle now? Would it just lead to a message saying the contest is over? It doesn’t. Instead, it takes you to a pornography website, Fundorado.com. The owners of this site, noticing that lots of people were scanning ketchup bottles, thought these people might also like a little porno. So they paid the $15, or whatever the site cost. Here they offer bigger porno if you sign up. They really do.

A man named Daniel Korell, who lives in Germany, decided that Heinz ought to be informed of this debacle, so he went on the company’s Facebook page and posted a message that read, among other things, “Your ketchup is probably not for minors.” As a result, Heinz sent him a custom-designed free bottle of ketchup.

After that, the news hit social media, which resulted in the porno site offering Korell a free one-year subscription. Generous folks, those porno people.

Since there are still ketchup bottles out there on restaurant tables and in people’s pantries just waiting to be scanned, be it known that Heinz at this point cannot do anything about it.

Don’t want that to happen? With hot water, I think you can peel off the label. No contest.

I just went to Fundorado.com. The site is now for sale for $1,555. Your customers will be arriving with ketchup and wounded warriors in mind, and maybe pornography if they’ve heard
about this.

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