Going 'All In'

There’s a point in a poker game when you’ve assessed the strength of your hand and evaluated your opponents’ faces, considering the likelihood that they might have something better. You decide to trust your gut and make a bold move. You go “all in.”

Marketing is often like poker. You conduct research to weigh your knowns against your unknowns. Based upon what you learn, you make a judgment call, or place a bet. Today’s ever-changing marketplace forces you to be bold. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and go “all in.” This is often the case when marketing to Millennials.

Campbell’s Soup recently went “all in” in their efforts to capture marketshare among the elusive Generation Y. They didn’t stop with a sizable bet of creating a campaign targeting Millennials; Campbell’s pushed in all their chips (figuratively, of course) to create a new product and campaign.



While the product launch is relatively new, there are a few reasons why Campbell’s may be on track to a big payout.

Attention to lifestyle. The soup’s packaging, a microwavable pouch, was designed for on-the-go lifestyles. Millennial life stages tend to create on-the-go lifestyles. Our five Millennial Life Stage Segmentations include: Teens (those still in high school), College, Stable (working full-time, no children), In-Flux (not working full-time or going to school) and Parent. College students and young professionals certainly exhibit the on-the-go lifestyle—running from one activity to the other—and even at the other end of the spectrum, Parents, Millennials exhibit a on-the-go lifestyle. 

Exotic Flavors. Ethnic diversity and the rise in mainstream foodie culture have contributed to Gen Y’s multicultural palate. Compared to Xers and Boomers, Millennials are less interested in eating steak and seafood (could they be the end of surf ’n’ turf?) and more interested in social (think shareable) foods like tapas, fondue and sandwiches or wraps. Additionally, Millennials show a greater interest in less traditional ethnic food such as Jamaican, African, Middle Eastern or African. Campbell’s tapped into this eagerness for exotic food with flavors such as coconut curry with chicken & shiitake mushrooms, creamy red pepper with smoked gouda and chicken & quinoa with poblano chilies. 

Nod to Millennial culture. In a rare move among consumer packaged goods, Campbell’s placed images of the target consumer on the packages of their new line of soup. Instead of the iconic red-and-white soup can label, each pouch features a black-and-white picture of a 20-something (some of whom are decidedly hipster). Additionally, the marketing campaign components give a nod to popular conversation starters in Millennial culture. The website design is akin to Pinterest and Tumblr and features cat memes (no doubt referencing the popularity of LOL cats). They also actively encourage consumers to make Spotify playlists to reflect each soup flavor. To some (i.e., older generations) this may seem like such a strange idea, but playlists have become even more entrenched in Millennial day-to-day than mixed tapes were for Gen Xers. And, because so many users link their Spotify and Facebook accounts, Campbell’s is, of course, hoping to spur some social conversations.  

Time will tell if Campbell’s will hit the jackpot by going “all in” and focusing on Millennials. But in the meantime, CPG companies can take a few pointers from Campbell’s recognizing a target market and then building a product and campaign for them. At 87 million strong, most of whom are already purchasing in your category, Millennial support is crucial to business vitality.  

Campbell’s reminds us the importance of being bold and going “all in” when such a big payoff is at stake.

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