Campbell Snacks Makes Big Marketing Investments In Its Acquired Brands, Despite Cost Cutting

When Campbell's made its $6.1 billion acquisition of CPG company Snyder’s-Lance last May, it wanted to bring its marketing prowess to snack brands that hadn't received media investment in decades, like Kettle, Cape Cod and Snyder’s of Hanover.

“They were more product innovation focused, and less advertising focused,” said Karen Marks, VP of integrated marketing for Campbell Snacks. “When we made the purchase a year ago, we saw the opportunity to invest in these brands, and give them purpose and meaning to consumers.”

The marketing refresh involved new creative assets and sizable media support for a six-month campaign for Kettle, Cape Cod and Snyder’s that launched this March.

Kettle chips hadn’t had a new creative campaign in more than 10 years. And Cape Cod Chips is now receiving the biggest media budget in its entire 40-year history. Snyder’s, already the top pretzel brand, is getting three new TV ads.

These investments are happening even as Campbell's pursued cost-cutting measures in recent years. In 2015, it unveiled a three-year plan to cut $200 million in expenses – a strategy that includes zero-based budgeting, where marketers create new budgets from scratch every year.

But Campbell Snacks is betting that the power of marketing can help brands with cult popularity grow beyond their existing passionate fanbase.

“We believe that marketing and advertising is critical to build the brands’ perception and meaning in the marketplace,” Marks said. “We are being judicious about how we do it, and really focused on where we place our bets.”

For instance, while Snyder’s-Lance has over a dozen brands, Campbell Snacks selected only three for the big marketing push in order to learn from the initial results.

“We will test and grow our way into what comes next as we build the other brands,” Marks said.

Also, Kettle, Cape Cod and Snyder’s all have incredibly passionate fanbases where “the brand love is deep,” Marks said.

While TV remains the most powerful medium to reach consumers, Marks said, online video and social media are complementary. Being judicious about marketing spend doesn’t mean that Campbell Snacks needs to move to different channels or abandon TV.

“You do have to be more places, and meet the consumer on their own terms. What has not changed is that video is the best way to deliver an emotional message, and a more nuanced message,” Marks said.

 

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