Swanson’s Inclusive Advertising: Stirring Sales Growth

Kudos to Swanson brand and parent company, Campbell Soup Company for its outstanding, inclusive print advertising campaign. The campaign features great chefs using, and providing recipes for, their delicious broths… and a delicious, authentic respect for diversity. While many companies are wisely striving for, but often struggling with, diversity, Swanson’s work is exemplary. They are elegantly appealing to caucasion ‘traditional families’ – AND the roughly 50% of the U.S. population that isn’t – appealing to millions of consumers that others overlook. project2 20081223_soup_250x3752ad3

One of the executions features a two Mom household, and the media plan includes placement in the Advocate, a leading gay and lesbian magazine. So of course, one group (who I won’t name, lest I give them more visibility) protested and attempted to incite negative action against the company. Campbell’s remained steadfast in their support of the campaign and respect for diversity. Result: dramatic sales growth and unscathed by a tiny bit of flak.

This is an exemplary inclusive marketing campaign; it strategically appeals to more consumers. Swanson’s brilliantly chose not to exclude huge groups of consumers by projecting the all-too-common ‘probably just for white people’ imagery. Inclusive marketing = more potential consumers. Mmm good indeed.

Lessons learned:
1. Treat inclusive advertising as an incremental sales opportunity.
2. Understand who your target consumers are. Take great care not to inadvertently exclude huge business-generating consumer segments.
3. Effective inclusive advertising is not simply inserting token minority images. Inclusive advertising talks to people respectfully, just more of them.
4. The best inclusive advertising is grounded in early strategic planning with your creative partners, not as an executional afterthought.
5. Expect to get some disapproving communication if you include some consumer segments, such as GLBT. It is usually minor and brief; no cause for overreaction.


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