Millennials, an age group roughly defined as “people who make the Consumerist editors feel old,” are a tough demographic to market to. How to reach them? “Free food” is usually a safe answer. That’s why Campbell’s is holding free soup events in big cities to promote their few products, $3 microwaveable soup pouches filled with the flavors foodies were crazy about in 2008.
The campaign to launch Campbell’s Go seems to be based on a checklist of “what the kids today like.” They don’t watch TV commercials or read print publications, and if they click on an online ad, it’s because their finger slipped on their iPad. So how do you reach them?
Product page based entirely on Tumblr? Check.
Facebook page with whimsical posts and helpful brand reps to answer all questions that aren’t about GMOs? Check.
Angry Birds cross-promotion? Check.
Spotify playlists about cheese to promote the Gouda-flavored soup? Check.
Kitten GIFs? Check.
The company must have focus-grouped the heck out of these packages, but everyone in the target age range (18-34) we’ve shown them to has had a visceral reaction that sounds something like, “aagggh!” It’s the models’ facial expressions, I think.
The core problem is the price. $2.99. The target market is disproportionately un- and underemployed, as Bloomberg News pointed out before the product even hit stores. Are they going to spend $3 for soup pouches that are neither organic nor vegan?
We first heard about this new and exciting product when Campbell’s sent us a press release. Companies really ought to know better than to send us their press releases at this point…but we’re talking about the product, so maybe they win. Campbell’s explained the product as follows:
Campbell’s Go soups represent the next generation of soups from Campbell Soup Company,” said Darren Serrao, Vice President Innovation and Business Development, Campbell Soup Company. “In many ways, these soups were made for Millennials by Millennials. Our Campbell team traveled around the world, meeting with Millennials and experiencing firsthand what excites them. Eating from food trucks, at their favorite neighborhood restaurants and in their own kitchens, we learned about their preference for bold, adventurous flavors in food. Bringing Millennials together at these communal tables is a great way to get them excited about what their generational peers helped create and offer them the opportunity to connect with influential subject matter experts about topics that interest them.”
What they’re missing, of course, is that eating food from your neighborhood restaurants and food trucks is about eating food that’s local, seasonal, and made right in your neighborhood. Not trucked cross-country in a non-biodegradable plastic pouch and microwaved.
Maybe we’re all just cynical jerks, even though the Consumerist staff fits squarely in the target demographic. Maybe you really can distill youth, joy, and flavor in a little pouch of soup. Good luck, Campbell’s: Americans can always eat more quinoa. And sodium. Lots and lots of sodium.