Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012
by Ned Wazowski
Thinking outside the can
There’s nothing like a bowl of hot soup on a cold day, and now that winter is upon us, we’ve got plenty of those cold days to go around. While homemade soup warms both your heart and your stomach, the iconic red and white label of Campbell’s Soup that debuted in 1898 is what a lot of us think of when we think of soup.
Winter or not, soup sales have been down though, and Campbell’s is looking to attract a young, sophisticated demographic. Their strategy? Making a bowl of hot soup seem, well, cool. The new ‘GO’ line from Campbell’s introduces easy-to-open pouches of soup with complex flavors designed to appeal to foodies.
So far the response has been mixed (insert your own “opening up a can of worms” joke here), but Campbell’s has no intention of phasing out those red and white cans. In fact, earlier this year the company returned to one of the highlights in the can’s history: Andy Warhol.
In September Campbell’s released special-edition cans of tomato soup with labels reminiscent of Warhol’s Pop Art paintings. The release coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of Warhol’s first exhibition of Campbell’s soup can paintings. Back then, the company was none too pleased about serving as a muse, and even considered suing Warhol when the paintings were originally exhibited. They changed their minds after seeing public reaction to the work, and even commissioned a painting from the artist in 1964.
Today Campbell’s is closely associated with Warhol and Pop Art, and the company has a licensing agreement with the Warhol estate to sell merchandise with the artist’s images of the cans.
Now if only they could have got on that Chicken Soup for the Soul bandwagon.
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