Design Matters: The Campbell’s Soup Label Update

For decades, you could walk down the soup aisle of any grocery store and find the comforting, classic Campbell’s soup label waiting for you on the shelf.

While Andy Warhol’s pop art take on the classic label put it in the spotlight in the 1960s, the Campbell’s red and white label was actually first introduced in 1898. Generations of shoppers were used to the look and the brand before Warhol painted it: and generations more have continued to recognize the label colours in the decades since.

But, in a move that makes us scratch our heads, the nearly 150-year-old brand has decided the iconic label “needs” an update.

As a branding agency, we understand the importance of great package design. Whether we’re talking about beer, natural supplements, or food products, your packaging makes a huge difference when customers are making choices in-store. A poorly designed package can cost you sales.

However, we also understand the importance of brand recognition, brand legacy, and maintaining strong connections to your brand community.

This “new and improved” Campbell’s Soup label design, in our view, takes all of those essentials and throws them out the window.

Yes, some red and white remain, as does the classic Campbell’s script logo. But the busy, colourful background takes away from what millions of customers have identified as Campbell’s over the last 120 years.

The question is, why would they do this?

Here’s a thought from Blade’s Chief Creative Officer, Wayne S. Roberts: “The advertising, design and branding media are suckers for this kind of click – story bait. It does a great job of getting people talking about their brand when there’s really no news about the product that actually innovation based. Did they make a new soup? A better soup? No, they just pitched a headline grabbing visual that probable has Andy Warhol laughing in his grave.”

No matter your opinion on the new-look Campbell’s cans, you have to admit that when you think of the brand, you think of that red and white label. And as long as that’s what you associate with the brand – that is what you’ll be seeking out at your local grocery store.

But… when you can’t find what you’re looking for, because your brand has decided to change its image after 120 years, you might just start looking for a new soup-maker instead.


Blade Brain Trust

The Blade Brain Trust brings you relevant insights to help you build your brand community.

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