Hockey makes Chunky’s A list

'fishing where the fish are' is how Karen Nishi, product manager at Campbell Soup, describes the strategy behind this year's targetted media buy for its Chunky Soup brand.Campbell Soup is running commercials in all regular season National Hockey League games carried...

‘fishing where the fish are’ is how Karen Nishi, product manager at Campbell Soup, describes the strategy behind this year’s targetted media buy for its Chunky Soup brand.

Campbell Soup is running commercials in all regular season National Hockey League games carried on the cbc television network, the Global Television Network, and specialty service tsn, The Sports Network.

Related programming

The company is also sponsoring the hockey show, Don Cherry’s Grapevine, on tsn, and Leafs This Week, on Hamilton-based station chch.

‘Whenever the consumer is watching something that is hockey-related, Chunky will be advertised on it,’ says Nishi, who adds Campbell is supporting the tv buy with an integrated consumer promotion involving Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey player Wendel Clark.

The strictly targetted media buy represents a big change from the traditional buy made in 1991-92, she says.

‘With limited funds available, you’re best to go after the people who represent most of your volume, to make sure the message is entrenched with them.’

Nishi says the decision to advertise on hockey-related tv programs was a logical one, based on what the company knows about its ‘heavy users.’

She says heavy users, which represent about 20% of Chunky Soup buyers, consume about 75% of the brand’s volume.

‘They represented a more male skew than a traditional a-o-r buy [normally a 55:45 male-to-female ratio], they were convenience-driven and time-poor,’ Nishi says.

‘They are not that involved with reading magazines or newspapers,’ she says.’Television allowed us the opportunity to target our heavy users. It’s also the best way to capture sight, color, sound, emotion, drama for our product.’

(The commercial, which began airing in October and will continue until the second week of April, revisits the Chunky Soup ‘fork or spoon’ debate, and shows a mafia don asking his prospective son-in-law which utensil he uses to eat his soup.)

Once the decision to use tv had been made, Nishi says she and Campbell agency McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO used demographic and psychographic data to narrow the programming choices.

‘You have to look at pure demographics, and then layer in what kinds of attitudes and behaviors [the target group] might have,’ Nishi says.

‘We asked ourselves which environment best suits our target market, given the gender skew [a 60:40 male/female ratio] and the kinds of people they are,’ she says. ‘We recognized that sports was the best way to do that.

‘Within that, we then asked ourselves which sport is the one that best matches Chunky. We looked at the seasonality of the brand.’

And Nishi says that within the winter sports category, hockey was the No. 1 choice because it is popular with the age group of the Chunky Soup buyer and, unlike a lot of sports, appeals to men and women in similar proportions to the brand.

She says tv spending for Chunky Soup is up about 50% over last year.

While Nishi declined to be specific about any corresponding increase in sales volume, she says the targetted strategy has been effective.

‘Let’s say we’re having a record year,’ she says. ‘It was the best way of communicating our message.’