New Ads Back Improved Condensed Varieties

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NEW YORK ( -- Campbell Soup Co. this week launches advertising to tout improvements to its condensed vegetable soup lines that Campbell CEO Doug Conant has promised analysts will help turn around its declining condensed soup business.

The ads, from Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, are part of the "Campbell's & You" effort launched earlier this year, and suggest that consumers rediscover the condensed soups they thought they knew.

High-value coupon
A newspaper insert will include a coupon for $1 off two of the improved vegetable varieties, the highest value coupon ever for condensed soup, Campbell said in a statement.

Campbell virtually owns the $1.3 billion condensed soup business with more than an 80% share, but its sales in the segment fell 7% to $1.1 billion for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 3, according to Information Resources Inc. Campbell has fared better in ready-to-serve soups, with sales growing 5% to $998 million vs. competitor General Mills' Progresso brand, which grew only 2% to $389 million, but those products make up less than half of its classic red and white condensed soups.

Campbell said it has improved the flavor, color and texture of its Vegetable Alphabet soup as well as Vegetable Beef, Minestrone, Old Fashioned Vegetable and six other soup varieties.

Three-year plan
The effort, part of a three-year plan to overhaul the condensed soup lineup, will be extended to Campbell's Fun Favorites and Chicken Rice lines next year and to the whole lineup by 2005.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Fingerman, until recently vice president of the U.S. soup division at Campbell, has been promoted to president, replacing former soup unit head Andrew Hughson, who resigned abruptly earlier this year.

Pepperidge Farm marketing chief
Separately, Campbell named Jay Gould to the new position of chief marketing officer for its Pepperidge Farm division. Mr. Gould, 43, who has spent more than a decade in package goods marketing, most recently served as vice president of portfolio development and innovation for the Coca-Cola Co.'s global marketing division. The newly created position was developed by new Pepperidge Farm president Mark Sarvary, who was joined the marketer in July.

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