Reflecting its increasingly aggressive marketing, as well as new-product development, Campbell Soup Co. has hired its first chief marketing officer.
Michael Senackerib, a former Campbell executive who was most recently SVP and CMO at Hertz Corp., has been named to the position, which reports to Campbell president and CEO Denise Morrison.
CMO positions are relatively rare at food companies – Kellogg and General Mills are among the few that have them, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out.
“World class marketing is critical to Campbell’s success as we seek to drive sustainable, profitable net sales growth and deliver meaningful innovation,” said Morrison, in announcing the hire. “This role is a natural next step for Campbell as we put the consumer at the center of everything we do for our iconic brands.”
Campbell, which is targeting younger consumers as it seeks to reverse declining soup sales, announced earlier in 2012 that it will release 50 new soup and other products in its U.S. Simple Meals business during its current fiscal.
More adventurous (what Campbell terms “modern epicurean”) varieties of its condensed and Chunky soups, Skillet Sauces, and new line of pouch-packaged “Go” soups are a key focus. Recently introduced varieties, for example, include Sun-Ripened Yellow Tomato (condensed), Kickin’ Buffalo-Style Chicken (Chunky) and Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms (Go).
Chunky recently revived its “Mama’s Boys” campaign, now featuring NFL star Victor Cruz.
The push seems to be producing early results. After two years of declining soup sales, in Q4, ended July 29, U.S. condensed soups saw sales increase 14% (albeit driven largely by retail promotions), ready-to-serve sales rose 1%, and broth sales rose 4%.
Campbell is looking to Senackerib to engage younger generations, and he’ll be working closely with the company’s new digital marketing and social media director (Adam Kmiec, who was hired in May), he confirmed to WSJ.
Senackerib held several key marketing roles in Campbell’s U.S. Soup business, including senior marketing manager of the Chunky brand and microwave soups, between 1992 and 1996. At Kraft, he led the $3.8-billion biscuit portfolio, global snacks sector and direct-store-delivery business, and also served as EVP of Nabisco’s $1.2-billion salted snack division.
At Hertz, which he joined in 2008, he had global responsibility for brand and digital marketing, pricing and yield management across all divisions, and also led product management, market research, CRM, and travel partnership marketing.
During his tenure at Hertz, he drove revenue growth by 17% in two years, resulting in the first profit in four years; accelerated revenue growth among target audiences (including young car renters); instituted a customer service experience team; increased Web conversion; and updated the Hertz brand with new branding and advertising supported by an optimized marketing mix.