It’s not easy for brands to secure premium real estate in Walmart at any time of the year, especially during the holiday season. But Campbell’s has managed to get its cans of soup in the front of 1,400 Walmart stores through a sponsorship with Hallmark Channel parent Crown Media around the 10th anniversary of its “Countdown to Christmas” programming.
Campbell’s pooled media spend with its shopper marketing dollars for the first time in the “Joy Night In” campaign, designed to encourage consumers to stay in with family, watch Hallmark Channel and cook their favorite meals—using Campbell’s products, of course.
Historically, in consumer package goods there’s been a separation between shopper marketing and consumer marketing. And while the industry has been talking about being consumer-first, little has actually been done to this effect. But there’s a trend in the sector of thinking from “media to shelf,” says Marci Raible, VP of integrated marketing at Campbell’s.
As part of the deal, Walmart will host in-store cooking demos featuring Campbell’s products. Campbell’s products will make appearances in two original Hallmark holiday movies and be featured on the network’s “Home & Family” show.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film “A Christmas Miracle” will include a scene where costars Tamera Mowry-Housley and Brooks Darnell are eating Campbell’s tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches; and in Hallmark Channel’s “The Christmas Club,” star Cameron Mathison will make Campbell’s green bean casserole.
Hallmark will also air vignettes sponsored by Campbell’s featuring talent sharing their favorite holiday traditions and family moments.
As consumers seek healthier food options, some are skipping the canned-goods aisles on which Campbell’s relies to sell its soups. Winter and the holiday season is a critically important time of year for soup sales. So Campbell’s set out to create a campaign that would make the brand a bigger part of the holidays, Raible says.
The company took a look at the shifting the mindset of consumers from “fear of missing out,” or “FOMO,” to “joy of missing out,” or “JOMO,” as Raible calls it. It’s a motto, she says, that Campbell’s shares with Hallmark Channel, which made the network group a good fit.
For Crown Media, the partnership will increase the visibility of its “Countdown to Christmas” programming in Walmart stores. Original movies will play on a loop in stores using Walmart's streaming service, Vudu, and shoppers will receive programming guides with the entire “Countdown to Christmas” premiere schedule.
“It’s not easy to get the attention of Walmart, especially during the holiday where shelf space is valuable,” says Ed Georger, exec VP, advertising sales and digital media, Crown Media Family Networks.
Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” has already enjoyed a solid ratings start. The premieres of “Picture Perfect Christmas” and “The Mistletoe Secret” drew 3 million viewers last weekend. And, when excluding news and sports programming, the network has been the No. 1 cable channel since the movies kicked off on Oct. 25.