Age-old marketing challenge: How do you take a heritage brand and make it fresh, new and relevant for new generations of consumers?

Campbell’s Soup Co. was founded in 1869. Few consumer brands have a longer heritage than Campbell’s condensed soups. Given its long history, Campbell’s has obviously done many things right: from developing products and flavor profiles consumers want to effective marketing.

In a recent PROMO magazine article, we are able to glean valuable marketing insights in an interview the publication conducted with Campbell’s President and CEO, Douglas Conant.

In order to sell more condensed soups in the U.S. market where the company is based, and tapping into consumers for months, Campbell’s has outlined 5 key goals:

Redefine the shopping experience.

Enhance quality.

Offer healthier choices.

Refresh packaging.

Launch new marketing initiatives.

By increasing quality and making their soups healthier—the company has been cutting sodium levels, for example—Campbell’s will emphasize the fact this is a better “simple meal” choice than many other options currently on the market. While its condensed soup business represents more than one billion in sales, Campbell’s understands the company must work to increase its relevance in the current marketplace.

In the short article, Mr. Conant stated: “We are now in a position to reframe the way we compete in the broader simple meals category. Our new marketing efforts will further position soup as a key part of a healthy, well-balanced simple meal and help consumers make more informed choices.”

Expect the familiar red and white brand signature colors to remain on packaging, but crisp new visual elements will contemporize the brand without giving up any of its heritage cues. Shelving systems will be redesigned for national retailers as well. Point of sale is crucial in relaying information to consumers shopping in busy supermarket aisles.

Advertising will portray soups and recipes made from condensed soups as nourishing, tasty and affordable simple meals. Campbell’s has also begun to promote the vegetables used in its soups are grown on American farms. This message of simple, earthy goodness coupled with the idea of “comfort food” going back to consumers’ childhoods, ought to resonate.


What do you think of Campbell’s strategy?

Are you likely to respond to Campbell’s new packaging and marketing by considering purchasing condensed soups vs. other simple meal options?

Should Campbell’s continue to offer new recipes on its website?

What does Campbell’s have to do—in your view—to maintain relevance with today’s consumers?

I’d love to hear from you.

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Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni