Campbell’s takes gourmet on tour

A travelling soup bar looks to drive trial for the brand's more adventurous Everyday Gourmet line.

Campbell’s Everyday Gourmet uses flavours and ingredients aimed at consumers with a more adventurous palate, so it’s bringing the soup to them in a new way, in the hopes they’ll seek it out the next time they’re in the grocery store.

Working with Diamond Integrated Marketing, the company has created a mobile, fully-functional upscale soup bar. It is equipped with a kitchen, bar and a living “garnish wall” where the spices and herbs visitors can add to their soup are growing. After trying the soup, consumers receive a coupon to purchase one of the Everyday Gourmet soups in-store.

“Everyday Gourmet targets people some would call a ‘foodie,’ but we call them a passionate kitchen master,” says Moya Brown, VP of marketing at Campbell Soup Company of Canada “They are really into food and look for interesting ingredients. These soups have those, and including the living wall really links to that because this consumer, being so passionate about food, loves to customize their soup. We needed to create an experience that spoke to them and fit with how they like to experience food.”

The program has launched now and will tour across Canada until April. The bistro has already visited busy pedestrian areas like Toronto’s Union Station, but will also be visiting shopping malls like Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, British Columbia and trade shows like the BC Home and Garden Show in Vancouver and the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo in Toronto. Brown says the idea of bringing this kind of experience to non-traditional locations is meant to be disruptive, to capture more attention.

“When you’re going through Union Station on your commute, you’re probably not expecting to see a living wall of herbs and free soup,” she says.

Brown says the company did some limited in-store support for the Everyday Gourmet line when it launched in 2014 in the form of traditional activations and sampling. Now that the line is more established, it was a good time to increase its effort around driving awareness and trial, especially since the company has found that 40% of consumers who purchase one of the soups will re-purchase.

“We have a really loyal core group of lovers who have really high repeat, so a great challenge to have is find more people who fit our customer profile but just haven’t discovered the product yet,” Brown says. “The food is available everywhere, it’s just about bringing the taste and what it’s about to more people. When these kinds of consumers look at the ingredients, they see new things they are really looking for. And that’s not a thing they expect to find in the centre of the grocery store.”

Campbell’s has also invited Canadians to experience its soups at two locations of the “Campbell’s Cantina” pop-up in Toronto and Montreal the enlisted chefs to use Campbell’s soups to create new recipes. Brown says those activations gave the company plenty of learnings that have been applied to the mobile soup bar, namely the attention it is paying to the details of the experience and how they relate to the overall strategy.

“The Cantina was about creating a shared sense of belonging and showing consumers the soup they know can be so much more,” she says. “For Everyday Gourmet, we’re more focused on the initial trial of the soup itself. The garnishing is important because it’s a natural behaviour for this consumer, but it’s showing them how great the soup is right off the shelf, as opposed to chef-created recipes.”