50 years ago, Andy Warhol launched his fine art career with an exhibition featuring his iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans canvases. Now the canning giant is commemorating Warhol’s work — and trying to revitalize its own brand — by releasing special edition cans of condensed tomato soup that sport colorful, Warhol-print-inspired labels.
This is the company’s third flirtation with pop art — as the AP writes, Warhol-inspired cans were previously sold in small quantities in both 2006, at New York City department store Barney’s, and in 2004, at Pittsburgh-based supermarket Giant Eagle. (Warhol grew up in the Steel City, as did yours truly. Let’s go, Bucs!)
Ironically enough, Campbell is replacing the label Warhol painted in order to celebrate the artist’s work. Still, the Andy-inspired cans — Candies? No, that’s stupid — are undeniably eye-catching. Their bright color scheme and stylized Warhol quotes (“In the future, everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” etc.) should help them stand out on the shelves at Target, where they’ll be sold starting Sunday.
The cans are just the latest way Campbell plans to try to attract younger customers. CEO Denise Morrison revealed to the Star-Ledger last week that she’s trying to reinvigorate her brand by making their products “more convenient, more ethnic, more hip,” in writer Susan Todd’s words. Morrison’s biggest innovation is a new line of soups called “Campbell’s Go,” which come in exotic flavors like coconut curry and are packed in pouches sporting photos of goofy hipsters pulling faces.
Campbell’s strategy seems a lot like the one used by Old Spice — a once-dowdy brand that used cheeky commercials and social media to reinvent itself. And the new products themselves do sound pretty tasty. Still, it might be tougher to make soup seem cool; if nothing else, Campbell’s ads are a lot less likely to feature hot guys taking showers.
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