Campbell’s Soup Start-up Challenge

Last weekend, Villanova students had the opportunity to work on a go-to-market strategy for a confidential soup product currently being developed by Campbell’s Soup Company.

Campbell’s was founded in 1869 by Joseph Campbell, a fruit merchant, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer. From the introduction of ready-to-eat tomato soup in 1895 to a series of paintings by Andy Warhol beginning in 1962, Campbell’s is truly an iconic brand.

Throughout the company’s 148-year history, Campbell’s has built its reputation with a focus on innovation and the idea that food should be good, delicious, and accessible. True as this is, consumer staples across the world have been under pressure because of shifting millennial tastes and preferences. Compared to past generations, the modern consumer demands healthy, natural, sustainable, and purposeful food options.

Campbell’s is no stranger to change and innovation. In 1897, company-chemist John T. Dorrance invented the Campbell’s formula for condensed soups. In 1937, Margaret Rudkin founded Pepperidge Farms to produce and sell wholesome bread absent from the marketplace – Pepperidge Farms is a subsidiary of Campbell’s. In 1948, Campbell’s acquired vegetable juice brand, V8. In 1970, the company introduced Chunky ready-to-serve soup.

Now, Campbell’s is reinventing itself in an entirely new way. The Greenhouse is an organization within Campbell’s Soup Company focused on the creation, development, and launch of innovative products and brands. Their mission is to cultivate food products that make people healthier and happier.

That’s where Villanova students came into play.

From Saturday November 4th through Sunday November 5th, undergraduate and graduate Villanovans from across university disciplines participated in a 24-hour competition in the Idea Accelerator at Falvey Memorial Library. The competition was focused on building a story around the brand and proposing ideas related to the packaging, price, placement, and promotion of the Greenhouse’s most recent soup creation.

Early Saturday afternoon, participating students were introduced to a purposeful soup brand geared towards the millennial consumer. In the following 24 hours, teams of students brainstormed, strategized, and crafted presentations for one of Campbell’s most cutting-edge products.

Sunday afternoon, students proposed their ideas to senior level management in the form of a 10-minute pitch. Over $1500 worth of prizes were rewarded to the top 3 teams for their contributions.

The winning idea revolved around building relationships with local farmers and financially incentivizing farmers to practice sustainable farming. Other finalists proposed incorporating QR codes on the brand’s minimalist packaging to share stories behind seasonal recipes, ingredients, and farmers. The use of social media marketing was a staple amongst participants. One team proposed utilizing Instagram’s trusted micro-influencers – social media personalities with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers – to build brand loyalty amongst consumers.

To learn more about competitions at the Idea Accelerator visit www.villanovaice.com/events.