Best plan overall: Winner/Best plan for a budget of less than $1 million: Winner

Agency/media operation

Agency/media operation

OMD Toronto


Campbell Company of Canada


Campbell’s Soup


Less than $500,000

Media used







January to March 2003

Media team

Debbie Salmon, group director of strategy, OMD

Crystal Oxley, strategy supervisor, OMD

Alexandra De La Cadena, strategist, OMD

The background

Toronto had extremely cold weather in the winter of 2003, to the point that it became an editorial preoccupation in the media – as well as a popular conversation piece.

It has always been known that soup has a distinct advantage during the cold Canadian winter. It has a warming effect, and it’s comfort food. Consumers also tend to ‘pantry load’ soup, so as a result there is always a can in the cupboard.

But soup is a relatively flat category, so the desired result was to grow its share of hot meal occasion by increasing use.

Based on consumer insights, the best way to increase use was to capitalize on the news value attached to cold temperatures, bolster the association between soup and the cold weather and ultimately encourage consumers to take that can out of the cupboard.

A key challenge was working with a limited budget and providing Campbell’s Soup with media exposure throughout an extended winter season.

The plan

This plan was not based on traditional reach and frequency objectives. Falling temperatures triggered all campaign activity. Whenever the temperature dipped below -5°C, guerrilla tactics were deployed, providing brand and product ubiquity. This ‘pulsed’ activity strategy provided great message continuity. Although Campbell was not out there on a daily basis, the soup would have unfettered exposure whenever the temperature reached extreme cold.

Furthermore, media vehicles were selected based on their ability to provide maximum flexibility within a credible weather-related environment, further enhancing the creative message. Any media that could satisfy these qualifiers were placed on the consideration list.

Multiple media was planned to surround the consumer on what was termed ‘weather-triggered’ days. Media planners became meteorologists as they estimated how many days of -5°C or less would occur using historical forecast data. In addition, all media was secured with only 24 hours’ advance booking time, ensuring the highest level of weather forecast accuracy. The traffic department at The Weather Network would announce a ‘weather trigger’ 24 hours in advance. All partners, including both media suppliers and agency, would be copied on this information in order to ensure a mutual call to action.


The Weather Network was a key partner in this program as it provided a highly credible weather source, access to its meteorologists and a desirable environment for the cold weather message.

While Campbell did not have a consistent presence on The Weather Network, we wanted to ensure that we dominated the channel on extreme cold weather days. Heavy daily frequency was planned using non-traditional 10-second ads, which were chosen because people tend to watch the network for short periods, and because they worked to maximize the number of daily occasions.

The creative was developed to complement the existing content on the Weather Network. The ad showed the mercury in a thermometer dropping until it morphed into a can of soup. A voice-over said, ‘When it’s this cold outside, warm up with Campbell’s.’ The spot closed with the tagline ‘M’m!, M’m! Good!’ and the address of a Web site where visitors could read suggestions for keeping warm during winter.


To further align Campbell’s association with cold weather, banner ads appeared on the weather pages of select newspapers. This was a critical component to the campaign, as the upfront negotiation included anchoring the ads in strategic positions, but not scheduling them until a ‘weather-triggered’ day occurred.


Traffic/weather tags were also purchased during a narrowed drive period (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). This served as a pre-dinner reminder to encourage consumers to consider the soup in their pantry for supper and to think of it beyond the lunch time occasion.

The creative had blowing wind effects with the announcer stating: ‘Can’t stand the cold? Get into the kitchen! Warm up tonight with a hot bowl of Campbell’s soup….’

This message was enhanced with both announcer-read and recorded sponsorship mentions. These specially created mentions were produced on select stations to run on ‘weather-trigger’ days, giving the impression that the DJ was also cold and in need of a hot bowl of soup.


Internet played a key role with Campbell-sponsored e-mails deployed by The Weather Network on -5°C days. This was complemented by a banner presence on the Canadian City Weather pages. The banners were concentrated during the 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. time period, providing heavy frequency and visibility during pre-dinner and/or prior to the drive home day parts when log-ins to check weather and live-traffic cameras are most popular.


Weather triggered activity on -5°C days also appeared on digital video displays at the end of the campaign. Both the Digital Advertising Network (D.A.N provides signage in food courts) and the Outdoor Broadcast Network were incorporated to further engage consumers during ‘weather-triggered’ days. D.A.N. media incorporates weather content, which provided a relevant environment in which to showcase the Campbell message. Production costs were minimal as the 10-second television creative was adapted for this medium.

The results

Campbell believes the program contributed to the incremental strength in the soup portfolio over the February/March period (+6%). Web site traffic also increased 11% during the first week of the campaign.

Based on feedback, the creative and placement of the media achieved another primary objective of Campbell which is to ‘surprise and delight’ the consumer by appearing in unexpected places. This program was executed from concept to on-air in less than three weeks, which is a reflection of Campbell’s commitment to collaboration – in this case with both media and agency partners.

The judges rave…

‘It was impressive to see such a successful partnership between the media planners/buyers and The Weather Network. Sometimes as media planners, we tend to forget about the knowledge base of our suppliers and what value they can offer to our client’s campaigns.’

‘The media planners did not fall into the trap of using one supplier exclusively (although this would have been less labour intensive). The layering and timing of the media ensured both strong reach and frequency was achieved against the target audience during key time intervals.’

‘Overall, the media plan demonstrated an excellent understanding of the product and the required marketing objectives for this initiative.’