Soup on TV
(23 September 2007)

You know you have seen these commercials... Campbells Soup...

Soup on the Go, soup in a cup you can stick right in the microwave and eat where you are, when you want to? THOSE commercials? It amazes me that they paid for those to air - heck it amazes me that they paid someone to come up with that campaign!

The manager in a teleconference meeting with his staff around the table and the faceless voice talking about the cutbacks and reductions in pay and taking away vacation time, and the idiot manager making "mmmmm's" and "good good" sounds with the soup cup glued to his lips, the faceless voice interpreting these as his agreeing to what they are saying while the staff looks horrified?

Or the one with a similar theme - guy in a meeting at the table making almost orgasmic like sounds as he drinks up his chicken noodle soup? There are others - I think there are a half-dozen in this theme that I have seen so far, all presenting the product as so good it takes over your entire mind and body...

I called Campbells last friday - I don't know, it may be that I just have too much free time - and asked to speak with marketing. When the guy came on... Well, here is the conversation:

ME: "Hello? Who do I speak with about your soup on the go product?"

HIM: "I can help you."

ME: "Great! Which ones are safe to eat?"

HIM: "Pardon me? What do you mean safe to eat?"

ME: "Sorry, which of the types of soup have the stuff that makes you stupid and which do not? I really need to know, my wife wants to know which ones I want her to get for me. I do not want the ones that make you stupid though?"

HIM: "Make you stupid?"

ME: "Right - Tomato is one, I could see that it was tomato in the one, and I think Chicken Noodle - are those the only ones that make you stupid?"

HIM: "I don't understand? What do you mean?"

ME: "Oh great. You ate them for lunch didn't you?! Can you transfer me to your supervisor please? To a supervisor who has not had the soup?"

HIM: "You want to speak to a supervisor who hasn't eaten soup?"

ME: "God those things really work huh? Does the government know you are selling that stuff as food?"

HIM: "What?? What stuff? Soup? I don't understand.."

ME: "Yeah well I figured that out earlier. Look, I don't guess it matters how I feel about you drugging your product, but I am not really interested in drugs. I do like soup, but I really need to know which types of your product have not been drugged?"

HIM: "Drugged?! (Angry Voice) We do NOT drug our product!"

ME: "Riiigggghhhhtttt... Mum's the word. Now can I speak to a supervisor or what?"

HIM: "Sir, our soups do not make you stupid!"

ME: "Of course not - I have not eaten them yet. I need to know which are safe..."

HIM: "They are ALL safe!"

ME: "Of course - they pay you to say that I know, but seriously do you know which ones don't make you stupid? Because I have to tell you I'd get fired for using drugs at work, so Tomato is right out; that is a shame though because I liked your Tomato soup (I sigh loudly)"

HIM: "Am I to understand that you perceive our commercials as suggesting that you will be made (pause) Stupid by eating them?!"

ME: "Well that is what you state in the commercials - that is what you show anyway. Why? Are you saying that is not what you are meaning to say? Because I have to tell you that the message comes through loud and clear that it is the soup doing it to the people in the commercials..."

HIM: "No no! It is not... I mean the point is not that the soup makes you stupid, the point is it is so good that you are... Ah..."

ME: "Stupid?"

HIM: "Well yeah but not on purpose..."

ME: "You are not going to tell me which ones are you?"

HIM: -click-

And that was the end of the conversation.

I never did find out which ones make you stupid for sure - and if you are wondering, no, this is not made up - it really happened.

Commercials do not make sense anymore. They used to show you their product and tell you about it - bare minimum they would suggest that you will like or enjoy it, and maybe they would explain why it is good. Not anymore...

Now ads overhype the products and suggest it does things that clearly it does not do. Why do they do this? It boggles the mind sometimes, but I suspect that they do it - this clearly fantastical emphasis - in order to make an impression on the consumer. The problem with that is that they are presenting the product in a false and - dare I say it - misleading light.

Progresso soups don't make you stupid to judge by their commercials, which tend to lean heavy on the how they are made and quality ingrediants type info.

Well you will have to excuse me now, there is a very attractive girl outside and I need to put on some Axe so that she will find me overpoweringly desireable and maybe buy me lunch or (wink) something...

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