Campbell’s shares the warmth in a new masterbrand campaign

The company wants its cooking portfolio to seem less functional and more comforting for people turning to home meals in a trying time.
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Campbell’s is taking a masterbrand approach to give the full range of its cooking portfolio a place in the pantries of Canadians looking for the comfort and warmth of a home cooked meal.

The CPG company’s latest animated effort is called “Warmth to Share,” created and led by Leo Burnett. The spot begins shows the kind of tense, stressful situations people may have become a bit too accustomed to this year, with couples arguing and a shop owner nearly hitting a pedestrian with a bag of trash.

All of this is witnessed by a firefly and a young boy, but the firefly then peaks into a window to see the home-cooked meal that lifts the spirits of the boy and his mother. The whole spot is set to a cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love.”

Kristen Knox, director of marketing at the Campbell Company of Canada, tells strategy that the company has not done creative focused on this side of the business for a while, and that it wants to rekindle the emotional connection with the brand through a mix of positivity and warmth. That’s also to counter perceptions that products in its cooking portfolio, like condensed soup and broth, are merely functional.

These SKUs, she says, are “pillars of our cooking portfolio” and arguably what the company is best known for. But even though they provide shortcuts to more elaborate meals, those shortcuts can be very important to people, and the meals often offer the comfort and connection seen in the campaign.

On the more functional side, the company’s goal is also to show people that it can be more than just canned tomato soup, and can bring even adventurous foodies some excitement. The spot calls out the “Cook With Campbells” microsite at the end, driving to the kind of recipe content that has long been a staple of both the company’s above- and below-the-line marketing. But Knox says  digital platforms like these important now more than ever, with consumers looking for ways to find recipes and compile shopping lists. They are also looking for multiple ways to shop, and the company has worked to extend itself on ecommerce platforms, like those of its retail partners or the Amazons and Walmarts of the world.

Knox says Campbell’s value proposition compared to the competition, including private label, is its 90 years of brand equity and the trust that comes with that and its high quality ingredients. Globally, Campbell has been increasing its marketing spend this year behind its most trusted brands, focusing on its soup and snacking portfolios. In Canada, outside of the new masterbrand work, that has also included more brand-specific campaigns, like a recent brand rebuild for Goldfish to align the crackers with childhood creativity.

Campbell’s typically ramps up communications in the fall and into the winter months, as people are looking to reestablish their routines and begin cooking significantly more at home – things that are going to be especially true this year, which also comes with a massive shift for comfort, health, and quick cooking solutions.

In its Q4 earnings, Campbell reported that net sales in the quarter increased 28%, driven primarily by gains across soups, V8 beverages, Prego pasta sauces and pasta, though it was partially offset by ongoing struggles in foodservice.

There are more incremental ad dollars spent against this campaign compared with last year, Knox says, as the company is confident this emotional approach will resonate with consumers. Spark is handling media for “Warmth To Share,” which is running on TV and in digital channels. The campaign will also have shopper elements led by The Mars Agency launching in the month ahead.