At Campbell's Innovation Is Mmm Mmm Good

Campbell’s CEO Denise Morrison is a company insider who was elevated to the top spot in 2011. But with condensed soup sales not as robust as they once were she knows that one of her key tasks is to drive change and innovation at the 144-year old company, as she told attendees at the 4A’s conference in New Orleans on Monday. She was interviewed by BBDO global CEO Andrew Robertson.

Morrison referred to the company’s innovation efforts as “thinking outside the can.” The iconic Campbell’s Soup can, that is, which became part of American pop culture in the 1960’s thanks to artist Andy Warhol.

That can, Morrison told 4As conference attendees is emblematic of the company’s “past success.” The very stylish cheetah jacket she wore on stage is a metaphor for the change that will hopefully drive the company to greater heights in the future. The cheetah, she said, represents the speed at which the company must innovate to stay competitive. It’s also symbolic of the vision (cheetahs hunt by sight not scent) that will drive successful innovation.

Morrison even brought props--of a decidedly non-can-like nature--to illustrate the company’s determination to  keep up with current eating trends among Millennials. They included several plastic packages of “fresh foods” from Bolthouse Farms, which the company bought for $1.5 billion last year, the biggest acquisition ever made by Campbell’s.

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