Campbell's Soup Shirks Canned Cool for Wholesome Warmth

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 7, 2010 10:30 AM

Campbell Soup Company today launched "It's Amazing What Soup Can Do," its first-ever umbrella advertising campaign to support its U.S. soup brands. The first spot, "Happier Place" (above), highlights all Campbell's branded soups and is one of 15 television ads planned. The scale of the $100 million-plus integrated campaign, which includes TV, print, radio, online, social media, along with in-store activation and sales promotion, is "significantly larger" than any previous Campbell campaign.

According to the press release, the campaign's goal is to "reposition Campbell's soups in the simple meals category and drive sales and category growth." Campbell developed the campaign over an 18-month period, marking the first time the company has used a unifying advertising theme to promote all of its major soup brands.

Also from the press release:

"We reviewed 60 years worth of advertising to better understand what had worked and why," stated Andrew Brennan, Campbell's VP and General Manager, U.S. Soup. "Historically, our advertising worked best when it showcased Campbell's soup as an indispensable food for any occasion. Soup is great for lunch, dinner or as a snack. It can be paired with a variety of foods or poured over meat, pasta or rice as a sauce, or used as an ingredient in a great tasting recipe. Our new campaign gets back to highlighting the versatility and variety of our soups and reminding people of all the amazing things soup can do."

Campbell's research and consumer insights indicated that in the "post-Warhol period" of the 1970s and 80s, the company's advertising had become too focused on the iconic can and few top selling varieties, rather than celebrating the quality ingredients, variety and great taste of its soups.

Now, the "It's Amazing What Soup Can Do" advertising is designed to contemporize the Campbell's brand and drive revenue growth for Campbell's U.S. soup business by showing consumers how soup can help people eat better and enjoy every stage of life. The ads present an array of images and positive emotions, such as outdoor activities, energy and happiness.

The campaign presents the many varieties of Campbell's soups within a common creative framework. All of the television spots include the same music, cinematography, voice-overs and tagline. Actor Tim Allen provides the voice over and each commercial concludes with a graphic and audio tagline: "It's Amazing What Soup Can Do."

Campbell's long-time advertising agencies, BBDO-New York and Y&R-New York, co-created the "It's Amazing What Soup Can Do" campaign. Campbell has worked with BBDO for nearly 50 years and with Y&R for nearly 20 years.

"We're in the unique position of having two long-standing partnerships with two great agencies who know our company and brands very well," said Maureen Linder, Campbell's VP-Global Advertising and Design. "We were able to tap into the collective knowledge base that Y&R and BBDO have of our brands and some of the best creative minds in the country across both agencies to develop this campaign."

Both agencies collaborated on the overall brand strategy and look and feel of the campaign with Y&R creating ads for Campbell's Chunky soup and Campbell's Healthy Request, while BBDO took the lead on Campbell's condensed soups and Campbell's Select Harvest soups.

Campbell has long been an advertising innovator. Campbell's soups were first advertised with the help of the classic Campbell Kids characters on trolley boards in New York City in 1904. For many years, the company was the leading print advertiser in magazines like Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Life and Look, where Page 2 was often referred to as the "Campbell's page" within the advertising community of the day. In the 1930s Campbell began advertising on radio and the "M'm! M'm! Good!" jingle was first heard. In the 1950s Campbell made television the centerpiece of its advertising effort, including its long-running sponsorship of the classic "Lassie" series.

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