Campbell Soup Co. is getting a head start on its football marketing, launching the newest "Mama's Boy" ad on Monday, more than two weeks before the start of the National Football League's regular season. Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman is the 19th NFL player to star in the campaign, which first ran in 1997 and featured Reggie White.
This year's spot (at top) is by Y&R, New York, and features Mr. Sherman's mother, Beverly. It marks the first time in several years that a real-life mother, and not an actress, co-starred in the campaign, according to Campbell. Last year's ads, which starred Green Bay Packer Clay Matthews, featured an actress mother, as did the 2012 ads, which starred New York Giant Victor Cruz.
The new spot, called "Copter Caper," uses a superhero theme while giving a nod to the Seahawks loyal and loud fanbase, known as the 12th Man. Actual fans, not actors, appear in the ad and are referred to as the "Legion of Superfans."
According to a recent story in mynorthwest.com, the ad's producers auditioned some fans via Skype, and eventually settled on a group that includes a fan named Tim Froemke, who goes by "Sea Hulk." The article describes him as a "mild-mannered construction worker" from a small town who spends "up to five hours before each Seahawks game getting his muscle-bound body painted." In the ad, he is called "Sea Monster" and appears painted in blue from head-to-toe.
As part of the campaign, Chunky in coming weeks will add animated digital content by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions.
Mr. Sherman is the first cornerback to be featured as a Mama's Boy, but the second Seahawk picked for the campaign. In 2006 then-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck starred in the ads and he returned in 2007, when Chunky featured a total of eight players in a single year.
The campaign then went dark before returning in 2012. The next year, Campbell CEO Denise Morrison credited the return of NFL-themed marketing for increasing Chunky consumption. In the 52 weeks ending July 13, Chunky recorded more than $440 million in sales (not including Chunky's Healthy Request varieties), which was about the same as the previous 52-week period, according to IRI. But the flat performance outpaced the total $1.9 billion wet soup category, for which sales dropped by 1.6%, according to IRI.
In addition to the Seahawks, only four other teams have had two players in the campaign during its run: the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Packers.