Campbell pits FCB, roster shops

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Campbell Soup Co. is pitting three agencies-including non-roster shop Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide-against each other in a bid to bring new consumers to its ailing $1 billion-plus condensed-soup line.

Local out-of-home campaigns in select markets were created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' FCB, former condensed-soup agency of record; Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, current agency of record; and WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, agency for Chunky soups.


The campaigns appear in markets with high student populations and are described by the shops as "younger, hipper, cooler" than the company's current advertising. Campbell's agencies said the goal is to come up with ideas that are edgier than its typically family-oriented ads.

The marketer's decision to bring in two new agencies on the red-and-white label business could be viewed as a threat to BBDO's grip on the brand, which has seen sales slide 6% in the past 12 weeks. FCB and Y&R are keen to gain new business from Campbell, which hinted that the campaign could roll out nationally if the results are positive. It is a particular coup for FCB, which does not currently have any Campbell business.

The agencies all declined to comment.

The effort marks Campbell's first out-of-home campaign in recent memory. "Our advertising is focused on moms with kids and we're already in 90% of homes. We need to get beyond that market and target students and other people who perhaps aren't watching TV as much," said John Faulkner, director- brand communications at Campbell.

The work will run in three markets: Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. FCB's New York office was first out of the gate last week with work in the Boston area. The agency unveiled ads that emphasized local themes. The phrase "Wicked Good" is being used to promote the bean-with-bacon flavor. Clam chowder is also being promoted on buses and billboards.

BBDO will unveil locally tailored work in Philadelphia, while ads from Y&R will run in Cincinnati. The out-of-home campaigns are slated to run from January to March in Philadelphia and Cincinnati. The Boston ads will run longer, given the size of the market's student population.

Campbell dominates the condensed-soup market with an estimated 80% share, but its sales have struggled. For the 12-week period ending Dec. 1, dollar sales of Campbell's condensed soups were down 5.9% to $289 million.

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