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Reshaping the Classics: Campbells Goes After Gen Y (and Target follows)

Campbells Millennials Intercept Group

Arguably one of the best known food brands out there, Campbells has been struggling in recent years. The soup-maker has been in a bit of a slump, failing to grow sales as planned under CEO Denise Morrison, who calls this a “turbulent time” for the brand. In an attempt to break through to millennials, Campbells will be launching 200 new products in 2015, including Gen Y friendly items such as protein bars, ready-made smoothies and fresh-packaged snacks for children – a smart move, as millennial moms have an enormous buying power that is only increasing (see our recent post on millennial moms, here). The brand is focusing on new, health-conscious food items as well as reaching parents as consumers, with a goal to increase sales by 20% over the next five years. Time will tell if they’re successful, but their aim is bang on – millennials have the power to make or break a brand, and connecting with them is critical going into the next decade.

As a company that has been around since 1869 (yes, almost 150 years), Campbells is huge, but by no means has a youthful association. That said, if Campbells can succeed with millennials now, it could be key to thriving in the next 150. Who knows – maybe the next Andy Warhol will create an iconic image of a protein bar. (It could happen!)

Another brand making a change in an attempt to reach Gen Y is Target, who recently released a collection of HGTV-style dorm makeover videos on YouTube. Knowing that millennials visit YouTube frequently and enjoy sharing entertaining content with their peers, the retailer utilized known YouTubers to create an engaging, online-only series that looks at not only dorm décor, but issues facing Gen Y today. Target also has a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and is currently focusing on back to school shoppers, particularly in the college and university age group. Honing in on social media marketing is a definite pitch to Gen Y – one that Target is hoping millennials will respond to favourably, and with sales.

Connecting with millennials in order to build brand loyalty at a young age is a popular goal that is being approached differently by brands across the globe – an exciting time for marketing. As Campbells and Target embark on similar missions with completely different strategies, it will be interesting to see how each approach hits or misses with Gen Y, and how this takes each brand into the future.