Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Campbell Gets 'Happy' in $100 Mil. Push

Sept 7, 2010

Campbell Soup Co. this week kicked off the first umbrella campaign for all of its U.S. soups. This time around, ads don't challenge rivals like Progresso, but rather show how consumers from all walks of life turn to Campbell’s soups to reach a “happier place.”

The effort, which spans television, print, radio, online and in-store media, is part of the soup maker’s strategy to reposition its products in the simple meals category. The first spot denotes that eating Campbell’s contributes to a healthier lifestyle, since the soups offer “good nutrition, energy [and] farm-grown ingredients,” Tim Allen, who lends his voice, says.

Tuesday's page takeovers on major web portals--namely AOL, Yahoo and MSNBC.com--introduce the campaign’s new tagline: “It’s amazing what soup can do.”

According to the soup giant, the campaign is different from past efforts in that it highlights the breadth and versatility of Campbell’s entire portfolio. While past ads focused on bestsellers like chicken noodle and tomato soups, the new spots feature products like Healthy Request, Select Harvest, Chunky, and even its microwavable cups and bowls.

The campaign introduces consumers to the different ways they can cook with or serve Campbell’s soups, as well as the “unexpected ingredients that go into [them],” said Campbell rep John Faulkner. It was a natural evolution for the brand, since the health/ nutrition message behind many of its core products had begun to intersect over the years, Faulkner said. For example, Campbell further cut the amount of sodium in its condensed soups this year.

The ads also feature a broader demographic--from kids to young adults to seniors. The goal, Faulkner said, was to “show that soup has appeal to lots of different folks; we want consumers to see themselves in these spots."

Campbell will air a total of 15 spots--focusing on its different soup offerings--through March. It's running print ads in popular cooking, shelter, sports and women’s magazines. The New York offices of BBDO and Young & Rubicam, the two lead agencies working on the account, handled creative duties for the campaign.

Campbell is spending more than $100 million on the new effort, which is significantly more than what it had spent on individual campaigns in the past. According to the Nielsen Co., the company spent $236 million advertising its U.S. soup business last year, excluding online, and $97 million through June of this year.

The company is banking on the effort to help boost sales, which dropped five percent in the fourth quarter, per an earnings report last week. “You look back five years or more and Campbell was the dominant player in the soup category, but that isn’t the case anymore,” said Lynn Dornblaser, an analyst with Mintel, referring to the brand's biggest rival, General Mills’ Progresso, and private label.

Since Campbell has tweaked its portfolio over the years consumers might not be aware of all the changes and new products. "[Therefore,] the campaign really hammers home to consumers just how much variety Campbell has,” Dornblaser said.

John Grubb, managing partner at Boulder-headquartered Sterling-Rice Group, said the most recent round of soup wars might have turned some consumers off to the category. But this (less aggressive) approach is a good way for them to tune back in. 

Jell-O Jiggles for Giggles

Sept 3, 2010
- T.L. Stanley

It may not seem like there's a lot to laugh about given the state of current affairs, but Kraft learned otherwise during a 23-city tour that brought out thousands of people for a national giggle contest.

The stunt for Jell-O, dubbed "Give it a Giggle," sent a truck tricked out as a recording studio to Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere, recording consumers' best crack-up efforts. For inspiration, the trucks played webisodes starring Bill Cosby, iconic comedian and former Jell-O spokesman, who's working with the brand again. The video shorts put Cosby in his favorite milieu -- in front of an audience of kids who, in fact, say the darnest things.

"We were looking for people with giggles that are contagious," said Cindy Chen, Jell-O's director of marketing. "We want that giggle to bring out other people's giggles."

Of the thousands of snorts and titters recorded so far, Kraft executives and the brand's ad and PR agencies winnowed that number to 10. Online voting for the favorite giggle begins Sept. 21. The top three finalists will go to Cosby, who'll make the final selection. The winning chuckle will be included in a national TV commercial, scheduled to air later this year. Cosby will help create the spot, Chang said.

The event is part of the most aggressive Jell-O marketing push in years. It launched in May and has rolled out over the summer with three rotating TV spots from Draft FCB, Chicago, including one with "Jell-O ambassadors" doling out the treat to folks on the street. There's also print, in-store, outdoor and digital efforts, along with a tweaked logo that now includes a smiley face. The Jell-O Facebook page banked 100,000 fans in its first week, and now has more than 122,000 "friends."

Jell-O is the latest brand to jump on the "happy marketing" bandwagon, where relentless optimism seems to be working with consumers in categories from food to soda to office supplies. (Parodies are rampant, but backlash seems to be minimal). The "Hello Jell-O" campaign features a "happy appy," where consumers can "help spread the happy" by sharing playful moments through the brand's Facebook page.

Cosby hit the talk show circuit and waded into social media this summer, touting Jell-O and his renewed relationship with the brand. Cosby also promoted the 10-minute OBKB webisodes that aired on UStream. He described them on "The Today Show" as being about "children, laughter and joy."

The giggle tour, handled by the Kraft's agency, Hunter, New York, generated reams of local media coverage in the cities where it landed. "Hello Jell-O," which has a carefree, summery feel, is expected to be a longterm campaign, with no end date set.