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

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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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Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG292 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Consumer Behavior / Consumer Purchase Decisions / Marketing Research
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


This case discusses some of the consumer research techniques that Campbell Soup Company (Campbell), the world's largest soup maker, employed to make some product changes to its condensed soup category. These changes came into effect in 2010. The company employed neuromarketing, which refers to the examination of consumers' brains to comprehend how they responded to advertising, packaging, and other promotions. Condensed soups, which were amongst Campbell's flagship products, had been exhibiting weakened sales performance since 2002.

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Campbell's goal in deploying neuromarketing was to figure out what made consumers buy its soups and to reinforce/ strengthen those aspects. Initially, some of the physiological aspects of the test like consumers' heart beat, perspiration, and pupil movements were measured when they were viewing Campbell's soup cans in stores and these were interpreted in light of what the test consumers revealed in detailed interviews. This revealed that the soup can labels were not very effective in converting the compan' condensed soups into actual purchases at stores. Campbell executed some changes to its labels and retested these with consumers, partly by again examining their physiological responses. Soups with redesigned labels were finally introduced in August/ September 2010. Some of the label changes were: doing away with the image of the spoon, making the soup bowl larger and its design contemporary, including an image of steam emanating from the soup, and reducing the width of its legendary red streak. But these label redesigns did not seem to help in salvaging Campbell's condensed soup sales, as evident from their dwindling sales post the introduction of redesigned packages. This case is meant for MBA students as a part of the Consumer Behavior/ Marketing Research curriculum.


The case will help the students:
Understand various issues and challenges marketers face in influencing the purchasing decisions of consumers.
Understand the difference between high-involvement and low-involvement purchases and the associated marketing challenges.
Get a perspective on various new and emerging consumer research techniques.
Understand the concept of neuromarketing and the circumstances under which companies could deploy it effectively.
Discuss the research strategies that companies need to adopt to derive maximum mileage from neuromarketing exercises.
Discuss where Campbell had gone wrong with regard to its product strategy for condensed soups.
Explore ways in which the company could revive its condensed soups sales.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 1
About Neuromarketing 2
Neuromarketing at Campbell 4
Changes Executed 5
Results 6
The Road Ahead 7
Exhibits 8


Consumer purchase decisions; consumer research; consumer research techniques; Neuromarketing; Marketing research; Triangulation; Eye tracking software; EEG; fMRI; Focus group; Product strategy; Packaging; Labeling; Advertising; High-involvement vs low-involvement purchases; Brand stickiness; Condensed soups; Campbell soup

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