Soup Songs

The New York Times: To reintroduce a struggling brand, the Campbell Soup Company is giving consumers a song and dance – literally.
A campaign that began this week for the Campbell’s Select line of higher-priced soups features the actor John Lithgow singing and dancing in commercials that offer humorous tributes to the brand. The campaign, carrying the theme “Why settle when you can Select,” is being created by BBDO Worldwide in New York, part of the Omnicom Group.
In the commercials, Mr. Lithgow performs over-the-top songs about Campbell’s Select and a new variety, Select Gold Label, that were written by David Yazbek, who also wrote the music and lyrics for the songs Mr. Lithgow performs in his hit Broadway show “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”
The campaign is the most elaborate send-up of musical comedy to be sponsored by a premium-priced soup brand since 1970, when Stan Freberg presented Ann Miller in a commercial, tap-dancing atop an eight-foot replica of a can of Great American Soup, sold by the H. J. Heinz Company.
The Campbell’s Select campaign, with a budget estimated at more than $20 million, is part of efforts by giant food marketers to persuade consumers to pay more for products that are presented as being of better quality than ordinary brands.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. It doesn’t come off like a send up. It comes off like they’re actually serious. John Lithgow looks ridiculous and the ad is ridiculous.

  2. The commercials for Campbell’s “new” soup, make Campbell’s and John Lithgow seem pathetic.
    I grew up with Campbell’s soup(s); and I have several cans of their soup in my cabinet now. How can some marketing or advertising groups think that these pathetic, silly, intelligence insulting (degrading to John Lithgow’s talent, what was he thinking?) ads would induce me to purchase a more expensive version of what I already trust?

  3. Did someone’s sense of humor wake up on the wrong side of the bed? The commecials are campy, light and funny. We need more to smile about these days.