CAMPBELL SIDELINES WHITE AS CHUNKY AD SPOKESMAN: DENVER BRONCOS TRIO TAKES PLACE OF CONTROVERSIAL PACKER IN EFFORT FOR SOUP BRAND

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Taking a pass on outspoken football star Reggie White, Campbell Soup Co. is switching its ad spokesman lineup for Chunky soup advertising to a trio of Denver Broncos.

The controversial Mr. White will be replaced in new TV advertising breaking this September by quarterback John Elway, running back Terrell Davis and defensive end Neil Smith.

The "Soup that eats like a meal" theme line is expected to continue, according to an executive with knowledge of Campbell's plans.

Y&R Advertising, New York, is the agency; it referred calls to the soup marketer. Campbell declined to discuss details of the Chunky advertising.

A spokeswoman, however, said "our strategy is to feature current Super Bowl champions." And consistent with that, the Green Bay Packer defensive lineman, who was featured in last fall's advertising, is out.

Campbell has already distanced itself from Mr. White because of controversial public remarks on homosexuality.

"His comments are not consistent with the principles of Campbell," said the spokeswoman back in March, when Mr. White made a speech before the Wisconsin Legislature. He subsequently has appeared in a controversial ad about homosexuality.

At the time, Mr. White's one-year contract was due to expire.

`CAN CAST A CLOUD'

"Any athlete that has such strong views [as Reggie White] can cast a cloud over an advertiser," said Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports. "That focuses in on their celebrity, and it's the opposite reason they've been hired. They are supposed to focus on the product."

He added the Broncos trio, all seasoned endorsers, "have very good images and a great track record with the hottest team today."

Chunky's track record also has been good. Although Campbell's third-quarter report issued May 19 said domestic soup sales fell 8%, Chunky is said to be the bright spot in the $2.3 billion canned soup category, with overall sales growth.

Campbell hasn't released volume figures for Chunky.

ONLY $8.3 MIL IN SUPPORT

The strong sales performance comes despite the fact the brand received only $8.3 million in measured media last year, well behind the $75 million that went to Campbell's flagship red-and-white soup line.

Campbell isn't the only major marketer that will be featuring NFL players in advertising this year.

Procter & Gamble Co. is filming new commercials for Pringles potato crisps featuring the New England Patriots' Drew Bledsoe and Detroit Lions' Barry Sanders.

Grey Advertising, New York, is the Pringles agency.

Contributing: Mercedes M. Cardona, Jeff Jensen.

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