Monday, November 23, 2009
Last fall, Campbell Soup started an ad campaign that said its Select Harvest soups were “Made with TLC” while labeling Progresso soups, from its rival General Mills, “Made with MSG.” Progresso responded with its own campaign, and then both companies complained to the advertising review division, which recommended withdrawal of some ads from both sides.Like the campaign for governor in Jersey this year - more advertising, fewer voters. Progresso now says no MSG on cans, & introduced "high fiber" minestrone, which just means they put more beans in it & it's less watery. The "TLC" in Harvest soups went into a label redesign. (Guys still prefer Campbell's Chunky varieties, advertised during NFL games.)
The damage was already done. Unit sales in the General Mills category that includes Progresso (called, unappetizingly, ready-to-serve wet soups) rose in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with the same quarter a year earlier, said Information Resources, a research firm in Chicago.
But since then, unit sales of wet soups at both companies have declined every quarter. A UBS analyst, David Palmer, attributed the drop largely to the advertising battle.
Best Soup Ever? Suits Over Ads Demand Proof. New York Times
Article doesn't mention that these soups are about $3 a can, & canned soup eaters do like to stock up, so just maybe the economy hurt business in 2009 & more consumers are dumping frozen veggies & shaking parmesan cheese into house brand condensed.
My two supermarkets are in working class neighborhoods, 1/4 mile apart on the same street. Both are the kinds of stores where many shoppers have the weekly flyer spread out on the cart's baby holder, & a frequently heard phrase is a budget-conscious wife saying to husband, "Not that one, get the one on sale." Pathmark sells a lot of $3 soup when it's for sale under $2.
Speaking of canned soups, though, and even the non-canned, the problem I have with them is the ridiculous amount of sodium they contain! Some of them are well over the 1,000 mgs. of sodium, which is a killer for those with heart conditions or high blood pressure, etc. Since I was diagnosed with HBP and have had to take medicine for the past three years, canned soup is out of the question for me. I tend to make my own soups from scratch, and if I do buy an occasional canned or packaged soup, I make sure it is low sodium.