What to eat on your artisan bike in Brooklyn? Soup!
Losing market share, Campbell has launched a new 'Go Soup' line aimed at millennials. The marketing campaign missed the mark -- but got people talking.
Campbell Soup controls about 50 percent of the soup market -- much less than it used to. So the 144-year-old company introduced a new line of soups marketed specifically to millennials. And so far, it has not gone over well with some of the target demographic.
They're called "Campbell's Go Soups". They come in a microwaveable pouch -- each one with a different black and white photo of a young person making a quirky face. The Moroccan Chicken, for example, has a woman in thick rimmed glasses with a cartoon voice bubble that says, "check it out."
Campbell came up with the idea by sending some of its employees to cities like London, New York and Portland to follow hipster millennials around and see what they ate.
When it comes to the flavors of the soups, Evan Hamilton thinks Campbell did a great job of figuring out what he and his fellow millennials like.
"Quinoa chicken makes sense for millennials. We like to be healthy. We like quinoa, perfect," says Hamilton.
Hamilton is 28 and works at UserVoice -- a company that helps businesses get feedback from their customers. Even though he liked some of the Go Soup flavors, he was kind of insulted by the marketing campaign.
"It sounds like the marketing copy that would be written by aliens if they landed here 2,000 years from now and looked through the wreckage of our civilization and found a Simpsons episode from 1999. It doesn't sound how actual millennials talk," says Hamilton.
Robert Zeithammer knows how millennials talk. He's surrounded by them every day. Zeithammer teaches marketing at UCLA Anderson. He recently had his students write about the Go Soup marketing campaign and nearly all of them thought it was ridiculous.
Zeithammer says the recession has caused a profound shift in our understanding of millennials and Campbell hasn't adjusted to the new reality.
"Before the recession, when we thought about millennials, we always talked about them as rich suburban kids who have everything in the world. They are the richest generation and they just have it made."
According to new economic research, millennials who graduated from college during the recession and missed out on entry level corporate jobs may never catch up.
"So we should feel profoundly sorry for them, we should not be trying to sell them soup that costs almost double of all the other offerings of Campbell," says Zeithammer.
The Go campaign has been the butt of jokes by bloggers and The Colbert Report but Zeithammer says, even this is good publicity because it gets millennials thinking about soup. And just hearing the word Campbell's can influence people to buy some -- even if it's the old-fashioned kind in a can.