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New Campbell’s ad plays up the power of a home-cooked meal

To connect with younger consumers, popular soup brand positions itself as a useful ingredient rather than a standalone dish

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Campbell’s has launched a new marketing campaign with a TV ad that is meant to warm the heart like a bowl of comforting soup.

The goal of the campaign is to connect with younger consumers— many of whom have fond memories of Campbell’s from their childhood—but position soup more as a useful ingredient to home-cooked meals rather than a dish on its own.

“In our recent past we’ve been there for Canadians from a functional perspective, but our roots run deeper when you look at just how many people have grown up with the brand,” said Kristen Knox, director of marketing at Campbell Company of Canada, in a release. “We’ve now made a very purposeful shift to lean into our emotional equity, and further strengthen our connection and modern day relevance with new consumers.”

The richly animated commercial (which includes a minute-long version online) tells a story about a young firefly named June, who ventures into a big city only to be disappointed to discover a cold, dark place with people indifferent to one another. With each disappointment she sees her light starts to fade.

She’s revived when she sees a mom making a hearty home-cooked meal for her young son (using Campbell’s soup, of course) in a bright and cozy kitchen. Filled with hope and her light once again burning bright, June joins her glowing friends as they fly off to symbolically spread the warmth and optimism.

“[The ad] showcases the transformational power of warmth that, when shared, leaves us with an uplifting feeling of positivity and optimism,” said Anthony Chelvanathan with Leo Burnett, the ad agency that created the ad.

And while the ad might feel like it was intended to spread hope during the difficult times of a pandemic, Knox said the campaign had been more than a year in the making, well before the pandemic.

The idea came from consumer research that showed many Canadians had a strong emotional connection to the soup brand, but saw it as a “day-to-day, practical product,” said Knox. Campbell’s wanted to lean into that emotional brand equity of warmth and comfort.

“Given the world we live in even pre-pandemic, and knowing that the world can be a cold and sometimes indifferent place, we really wanted to remind Canadians of the power of a warm home-cooked meal…. and the warmth that it can spread,” said Knox. “We wanted to bring that story to life. That was the core insight that kicked off this campaign, that got us the idea of the firefly which we thought was a great symbol of light and hope and inspiration.”

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