Campbell’s Cans Its Stodgy Image


Can we be real about something? Even though we totally heart the Campbell’s Soup Company for sticking around in Camden instead of uprooting its Fortune 500 headquarters to flee to cheaper digs in the South as advocates for the city had feared, the Campbell’s brand hasn’t been all that cool since Andy Warhol turned its recognizable red and white cans into iconography and Donovan McNabb and his mama were mouthpieces for Chunky soup. Campbell’s wasn’t even sure it was cool with Warhol’s imitation-as-flattery and considered suing him before he became popular enough to be safe–at which point the soup suits commissioned two paintings, and as we just learned, are releasing limited-edition tomato soup cans wrapped in pop art labels to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the artist’s first painting of his favorite lunch product.

But under a new CEO, Campbell’s execs are also getting hip to the fact that today’s young people have different tastes than their ancestral eaters. Grasping that we prefer coconut curry to cream of corn and Moroccan chicken to chicken noodle, they’re releasing a contemporary brand of quick-preparation soups called “Campbell’s Go Soup.”

Okay, the name may be lame but the inspiration was not. To get into the heads of the demo most quickly evaporating from the company’s balance sheets, Chuck Vila, vice president for consumer insights, traveled to the “hipster hubs” of Austin, Portland and San Francisco to get a taste of their food trucks and delicious dives (nice work if you can get it, right?). When he returned home, he and the Campbell’s gang developed the ethnic and easy-to-prepare gourmet-style line packaged in pouches instead of cans for easy microwaving.

True, it’ll be nice to replace that case of tomato soup that’s been gathering dust in the pantry with something more tantalizing and exotic, but Chuck, buddy, we’re just wondering one thing: Weren’t the food trucks and neighborhood establishments in the city you can literally see out your window cool enough for you?

Campbell Soup [Official website]