Influencing Consumer Purchase Decisions: Campbell Soup's Tryst with Neuromarketing

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG292
Case Length :11 Pages
Period : 2008-2012
Pub Date : 2012
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization :Campbell Soup Company
Industry : Consumer Packaged Goods; Condensed soups
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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About Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing referred to the practice of examining the brain's response to different catalysts in advertisements, communiqués, pictorial presentations, and other marketing ploys, besides product packaging, and endeavoring to employ those observations to improve the marketing activities. The argument was that consumer purchasing decisions took place in micro seconds in the subconscious, emotional segment of the brain and by assessing what consumers preferred, did not prefer, needed, were scared of, or were less enthused by, as suggested by their brain's responses to propellants, marketers could develop products and messages that would cater better to market requirements, and bond and influence the purchase...

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

Neuromarketing at Campbell

Between 2008 and the first half of 2010, Campbell employed neuromarketing techniques, underlined by the methodology of triangulation , to comprehend the impact that product promotions and displays had on a customer's nervous system and physiological alterations, and, thereby, influenced his/ her perception about the product. This advanced method, for which Campbell availed of the services of Innerscope Research, Inc. (Innerscope ), gauged aspects like variations in body humidity, heart palpitations, and other biometric details...

Changes Executed

Campbell made some alterations to its containers to create a positive feeling among prospective customers when they viewed it. The changes included deleting the spoon from the picture, incorporating an image of steam rising from the soup, and a bowl with updated contours. According to experts, the picture of steam signaled the feeling of warmth which, they said, connected with consumers at an emotional level. Also, the research revealed that the legendary red colored streak at the top of Campbell's soup containers made it difficult for shoppers to pick out their preferred flavor...


In the first quarter of 2011 , Campbell's US soup sales went down by 5% when compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. In case of its US condensed soups, sales fell by 1%. The company's top management conceded that the decline was mainly due to the absence of new products in its soup portfolio which could attract consumers. The sales of its soups, sauces, and beverages, outside the US market too registered a reduction of 1% over the corresponding quarter of the previous year. In the second quarter of 2011, the company's US soup sales dropped by 4%...

The Road Ahead

In November 2010, Campbell's top management announced its intention to work on launching new products. Experts also saw this move as partly an attempt on Campbell's part to regain consumers who had shifted to categories like frozen foods. The company conceded as much when, in a news release, it stated, "...the company's advertising had become too focused on the iconic can and few top selling varieties, rather than celebrating the quality ingredients, variety, and great taste of its soups."...


Exhibit I: Campbell's Financial Performance (2008-2011)
Exhibit II: Instances of Use of Neuromarketing Techniques by Some Companies
Exhibit III: Campbell Soup Can's Redesign Deliberation Based on Neuromarketing
Exhibit IV: A Campbell's Soup Can Before Redesign and A Campbell's Soup Can After Redesign

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