October 3, 2010

Farm-grown Ingredients

Ever since I saw a Campbell’s soup commercial on television a few days ago touting the company’s Campbell’s logouse of “farm-grown ingredients,” I have been meaning to write a post about what a strange phrase “farm-grown ingredients” is. Time’s Michael Scherer beat me to the punch in a commentary that included this paragraph:
Yesterday, I caught a new spot for Campbell’s soup that boasts of the company’s “farm-grown ingredients.” I did a double take. “Farm-grown ingredients”? As opposed to what? Test-tube carrots? Magically conjured potatoes? I imagined Peggy on Mad Man presenting the idea to Don Draper. The scene did not end well.
That reaction was similar to mine, though the first alternative to “farm-grown ingredients” that came to my mind was Soylent Green, not an appetizing thought!

Campbell’s, in an attempt to suggest that its soups are wholesome and nutritious, has come up with a phrase that seems to be saying something but is really quite meaningless. I would be willing to bet that, for example, Progresso soups also contain farm-grown ingredients. In fact, I would be much more impressed with Campbell’s’ power of innovation if the company could produce soups without using farm-grown ingredients.

The Adweek Web site offers a story about the new Campbell’s campaign. The campaign’s tagline is not actually about ingredients, at least not directly. The tagline is “It’s amazing what soup can do.”

Actually, it’s amazing what advertising executives can (or will) do.

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