Soap-opera fans feel bloated after a month of Campbell's Soup

Posted on Tue Mar 3 2009

Campbell-soap copy

Soap operas are full of evil twins and amnesia victims. But there's some real-life stuff in there sometimes. But what happens when there's too much real life—i.e., a month's worth of product placement for heart-healthy soup and fruit juice? The fans get pissed.
  ABC's All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital spent much of February not-so-subtly touting the American Heart Association's "Go Red" heart-disease awareness campaign with its brand partner, Campbell Soup Co. The effort included characters suffering heart attacks, a bunch of "Go Red" fashion shows and fancy balls, cameos from Campbell execs (which we mentioned earlier), and frequent in-show mentions of V8 Fusion juice drinks and Healthy Request low-salt soups. Fans quickly got tired of it all. Blogged one: "It made me long for the days when sitcoms used to have cans of soda marked 'soda' as to not give any undue plugs to real name brand products." Another was more blunt: "I love that Campbell's has made ABC soaps its biach for the month of February; it's just so ridiculous and hilarious."
  This is after the ABC/Campbell partnership made Soap Opera Digest's "worst of 2008" list (this isn't a first-time deal) and caused a fan to ask why last year's integration didn't "just put a picture of whatever crappy Campbell's product they want me to buy in the lower left-hand corner of the screen throughout the show." The ABC soaps, which, like all daytime dramas, have lost considerable amounts of viewers over time, saw a bit of an uptick in viewership for the just-ended February sweeps. So, the placements may have hiked the fans' blood pressure, but not enough to change the channel.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Campbell Soup women consider alternate careers as soap stars

Posted on Fri Feb 6 2009


Say hello to the sizzling hot ladies of Campbell Soup Company!
  Campbell North American president Denise Morrison (l.) and vp of soup innovation Lisa Walker (r.) recently filmed a scene for ABC's All My Children with the very foxy Vincent Irizarry (aka David Hayward) and the soap's other stars. The episode, which will air Feb. 26, features the two soup executives cutting the ribbon to a new cardiac wing at Pine Valley Hospital.
  The tie-in is part of Campbell's third year in support of the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" project.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Campbell also picking an ad fight with Heinz over pasta sauce

Posted on Thu Jan 8 2009

Campbell Soup Co. hates everyone.
  Already engaged in a soup battle with General Mills' Progresso, Campbell is moving on to pasta sauces—and wants to rough up Heinz's Classico first. The TV spot shown here for Campbell's Prego, from Young & Rubicam, New York, depicts a glass jar of Classico cooking in a saucepan. The point being, premium brands like Classico are all about the looks, while Prego is all about the taste. ("Take away the bottle, and taste to taste, Prego wins," says Campbell rep John Faulkner.)
  Heinz no doubt has taken notice, and is running ads like this one in Good Housekeeping and Ladies' Home Journal, touting the freshness of Classico. "We make it like you'd make it," reads the copy, via Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago. The effort, which includes banner ads, celebrates the "all-natural quality ingredients we use in Classico pasta sauce," Heinz rep Tracey Parsons tells us.
  Prego's chief rival, Unilever's Ragu, meanwhile is keeping its cool for now—extending a value-themed campaign launched last year from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, that highlights Ragu's ability to "feed a family of four for less than four dollars."
  Who will take the initiative and be the next to splatter his rival with thick red sauce?

—Posted by Elaine Wong

A good soup fight always helps you feel a bit warmer in winter

Posted on Wed Jan 7 2009

The war of soup between Campbell and Progresso shows no signs of abating.
  Campbell rang in the New Year aggressively with a new BBDO TV spot (shown here) and newspaper ad calling out General Mills' Progresso in an ongoing battle over the hazards of MSG. That follows an earlier spot from September, in which a woman, blindfolded, chooses Campbell's Select Harvest over Progresso's soups.
  Campbell got all up in BrandFreak's grill with another effort: a postcard coupon campaign for Select Harvest targeting health clubs in the Northeast, Chicago and L.A. (We got ours while trotting it out at the Bally's in Center City Philadelphia.) "Introducing the lighter light soup," the ad says, an obvious snide dig at Progresso's Weight-Watchers-endorsed Light line. "We're looking for contextually relevant places to reach the consumer, and the gym is a good place to do it," says Michael Dill of Circle One, which created the postcards. (They're also appearing poster-size in some gyms.)
  General Mills, meanwhile, is firing back with snide anti-Campbell e-mails to members of its word-of-mouth consumer network, Pssst, and coupon bullets of its own.
  How long will the soup wars last? Through the winter, at least. And whether they admit it or not, the battle probably helps both sides by drawing attention to the category as a whole.

—Posted by Elaine Wong



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