To do so, the company is test-marketing versions of its cans featuring the same offbeat colors pop artist Andy Warhol used in some of his Campbell Soup silk screens. The special cans are available in markets in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia. Campbell, which also makes sauces, beverages, biscuits, and confections, claims to have received a "terrific response" from consumers and may consider expanding the program.
Art lovers may gag, but the cans are a clever way of generating some interest for Campbell's condensed soup line. The segment has been struggling recently, although in the most recent quarter, the firm managed to offset a drop in volume with a price increase. Unfortunately, the novelty cans aren't a solution to products' problems.
The packaged food segment is intensely competitive. Consumers are increasingly demanding unique, premium, and tasty food that is utterly effortless to prepare. It's no surprise, then, that shoppers have been gravitating to new microwaveable soups. Perhaps in part due to its long tenure as a supermarket staple, Campbell's condensed soup is viewed as anything but unique or premium, even if it is relatively easy to prepare.
If it hopes to turn the line around, the firm will have to convince buyers that its condensed soup offers something special. Investors will get a chance to check in on the company's plans and progress when Campbell reports fiscal third-quarter results next month. If it can't make it work, someday the only place to see Campbell's condensed soup cans might be in a museum.
What do you think? Talk about it on the Campbell's discussion board.
Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Ill. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned here.