Marketing: Science sells soup

Puzzled over flat sales, Campbell's gives its brand over to neuroscience.

Campbell Soup Co. wants to make you sweat.

After two years of neuromarketing studies, Campbell believes it has the answer to why customers love canned soup at home but are underwhelmed in store aisles, and the company plans to change its labels accordingly.

Innerscope Research, a research firm that measures bodily responses, helped Campbell strap test-subjects into vests that measured their miniscule body reactions like the level of skin moisture, breathing rate and posture. Customers were found to react well to images of steam, but were unresponsive to spoons. The new soup labels set to be unveiled in the fall will reflect those findings.

Campbell’s soup, sauces and beverages division did $1.07 billion in sales for the second fiscal quarter of 2010, but that’s down 5% from last year. Within that, soup sales decreased 8%. Campbell hopes the new labels will help it reconnect with customers and increase condensed soup sales by 2% over two years.

But while most soups will get a makeover, Andy Warhol fans can breathe easy knowing that Campbell doesn’t have plans to change its condensed tomato soup can. Originally designed in 1898, the traditional red-and-white labels that have become synonymous with the Campbell’s soup brand will remain intact.