Campbell's brand modernization continues with musical QR codes on cans

Campbell's brand modernization continues with musical QR codes on cans

Dive Brief:

  • Campbell's has partnered with Universal Music Group (UMG) on a series of specially marked soup cans that unlocks songs and additional content via QR codes, according to a press release.

  • At select retailers in the U.S., Campbell's red and white cans will have a "M'm! M'm! Records" label and a QR code that leads consumers to recipes, behind-the-scenes content and playlists that feature newly recorded songs from UMG artists, with one song released weekly through Nov. 5.

  • To extend the effort, the brand will also launch the Sounds Good Tonight SoundCloud contest on Nov. 15. Customers can submit cooking-inspired songs for a chance to partner with Campbell's and win $20,000. A branded microsite at will feature a Campbell's-inspired sound kit that musicians can use to remix and create new songs.

Dive Insight:

Campbell's is continuing to modernize its iconic soup cans, which the company redesigned this summer for the first time in 50 years. The latest addition to the packaging is a QR code, a mobile technology that has roared back to prominence as the pandemic made contactless connection a priority for many consumers.

The effort's musical tie-in seeks to answer what the brand calls an age-old question: "What sounds good tonight?" It is informed by a Dynata survey the brand fielded in September that found 73% of home cooks listen to music while preparing a meal, with one-third citing music as a source of inspiration in the kitchen. The QR coded-cans will allow Campbell's to engage with consumers that continue to prepare and eat more meals at home — a pandemic-spurred behavior change that has persisted.

"How music can single-handedly set a mood is undeniable," Linda Lee, CMO for Meals & Beverages at Campbell Soup Company, said in the press release. "Partnering with UMG and their artists to create music that inspires American home cooks is a unique opportunity for Campbell's to bring a bit of inspiration to those daily dinner dilemmas beyond what's on the table."

As part of the deal, artists including Julia Michaels, Peach Tree Rascals, Jac Ross and Mickey Guyton have each recorded classic songs that will be released weekly and paired with their favorite recipes. The songs — Michaels covered Doris Troy's 1963 song "Just One Look" and Peach Tree Rascals covered Fleetwood Mac's 1987 song "Everywhere," for example — allow the brand to tie in with contemporary artists while nodding to nostalgia for classic songs.

This old-meets-new tactic aligns with the Campbell's identity and its efforts to modernize the brand while paying tribute to the past. The recent label redesign embraced the same "comfort, goodness and Americana" as previous labels, but still preserved the overall feel of the soup's first labels from 1898.

Campbell's is also using a cutting edge marketing tactic by launching a 100-piece NFT collection to mark the redesign. NFTs have continued to be a way for brands to engage consumers around technology and changing behaviors while serving their own brand building needs. Last week, Bacardi tied an NFT to a purpose-driven effort around diversity in music, while Crockpot released an NFT that commemorated 50 years of its products to reach a new generation of at-home cooks.

Campbell's is extending the QR-coded can effort with a contest that allows fans to submit a song for a chance to win $20,000. A branded microsite with a Campbell's-inspired sound kit gives the brand another digital touch point to connect with consumers around its brand and possibly collect additional first-party data that CPG brands continue to prioritize.