The headline cries "Breast Cancer Awareness Strategy Doubles Sales of Campbell's Soup."
Research has shown that cause marketing can have a big effect on how customer's feel about a product or company. In the Advertising Age article with the above headline, they cite the following stats...
According to a 2004 survey on cause marketing done by Boston brand-strategy firm Cone, 91% of 1,033 consumers say they have a more positive image of a company or product when it supports a cause and 90% will consider switching to another company if it's aligned with a cause.
So - did Campbell's Soup's breast cancer campaign really double sales? Well, not so fast. Kroger bought twice as much soup as they normally do. But did customers buy twice as much soup? We won't find out til the end of October or later.
There are some reasons why I think this campaign works, but others why it may not be as successful as they'd like.
Why it works
Campbell's didn't just slap a pink ribbon on their cans, they actually changed their branded colors of red and white to pink and white. Similar to the pink baseball bat campaign for breast cancer, I think this is a strong visual statement.
So strong, in fact, it made me just slightly uncomfortable. I couldn't figure out why, until I realized that this is a soup, a food, that has a pink label on it that represents breast cancer. I know this is a big stretch, but I wonder if the discomfort is from eating a food with the equivalent of "cancer" on it. But, then again, people smoke cigarettes with big fat warnings of health risks on it, so I could be wrong here.
I love the fact that Campbell's Soup, which is a very "mom friendly" product, aligns themselves with Breast Cancer awareness. I think it is a good fit with their brand and product image.
Campbell's will donate $250,000 to the Susan G. Komen foundation through Kroger. Now, that is a very large contribution - nothing to sneeze at.
Where it falls short
But here's where there's a little disconnect.....that works out to about 3.5 cents per can.
Now - if I do the math, that means if I really splurge and buy - say - 10 cans of soup. I'm feeling really good because my purchase will result in.....35 cents going to breast cancer awareness and research.
hmmm...wait a minute.....35 cents??
Don't get me wrong - I applaud Campbell's efforts to support a cause that is very important to their customers. But I just wonder......if a can of soup costs, let's say, around $1.89 - any way they could up the amount donated per can?
With the pink labels, they make a very strong visual impact - and maybe that's the whole point - to tie in the cause with the brand. For that effort, I give them an A - but if Kroger is buying twice the amount of soup, aren't they a real hero here, too? What are they getting out of it?
and 3.5 cents per can? While I"m sure that's a lot to Campbell's, I don't know...if they're getting twice the sales, couldn't they have contributed a little more? I don't know what the average number of soup cans is per grocery trip, but I doubt it's more than 2 or 3 - that's only around 10 cents. Can I really feel good about my contribution? Or would I be better off admiring the pink cans, maybe buying one to try to sell on eBay, and writing a check out myself for 10 dollars instead of 10 cents?
It will be interesting to see actual customer reaction to the promotion. While I think they could have made a stronger statement with their financial contributions, I applaud their effort.