Marketing 50

M'm! M'm! Good! To Go!

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For the last 10 of her 17 years at Campbell Soup Co., Jody Levy has worked on innovation and helped to bridge consumer insights and actual R&D early in the new-product development process. Over the last year, her hard work on Campbell's long-suffering soup business began to pay the company back in spades.

It was a simple concept. Consumer research indicated that while one in four meals is eaten on the go (roughly 250 meals per year) only 4% of soup consumption was outside the home.

To contemporize the Campbell's soup brand and appeal to consumers the way they actually live today, Ms. Levy, VP-marketing, U.S. Soups, Sauces and Beverages who at the time was business director of innovation, had to adjust the portfolio to make it more portable. And she did.

In 2002, Campbell launched a line of hand-held sippable soups dubbed Soup at Hand. Then last year it followed up with versions of its Chunky and Campbell's Select varieties in microwaveable bowls, creating a new platform cleverly dubbed M'm! M'm! Good! To Go!

The lineup's marketing strategy focused on building quick awareness and trial, Ms. Levy says. It included sampling efforts, new displays set up just for the convenience offerings (including specific racks for convenience stores) and advertising from Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, targeting previously untapped groups including teens, tweens and working women.

Last August, Campbell handed out nearly 1 million samples of its portable soups at Wal-Mart on a single day of its "Soup Up Your Lunch" program, making its way into the "Guinness Book of Records."

But the real accomplishment is the sales the new lineup has generated. Since its kickoff last July, M'm! M'm! Good! To Go! has reached $250 million in sales, Ms. Levy, 44, says, and just as importantly, "it has really changed the perception people have of our products, allowing us to compete in a much broader context that includes snacks."

Replacing other quick meal and snack options has also helped to build the soup category, something Campbell couldn't be happier about.

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