How Campbell’s Conquered Holiday Marketing with Green Bean Casserole
This Thursday, over 20 million Americans will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and dig
Campbell’s can attribute the staying power of green bean casserole on Thanksgiving menus to a few critical holiday marketing ingredients: Consistency, simplicity and just a dash of nostalgia.
A Thanksgiving side dish for the masses
The original green bean casserole recipe dates back to 1955. Dorcas Reilly was a home economist working in the Camden, NJ, Campbell’s Soup test kitchen. She was tasked with creating a recipe using ingredients any post-war home cook, rich or poor, would have on hand.
Her answer: the ‘Green Bean Bake’—a mixture of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, canned crispy fried onions
Sadly, Dorcas Reilly passed away on October 15 at the age of 92 but her recipe and legacy live on.
Bake your product into the culture
Through Dorcas’ recipe, Campbell’s landed one of the most coveted spots in marketing by cementing itself as part of popular culture. Its product was positioned as an irreplaceable part of a holiday celebration.
Recognizing Campbell’s “recipe” for success, other hoppers-on quickly began vying for a similar connection to the recipe. That includes French’s Crispy Fried Onions and Green Giant Green Beans, which recently staked its claim by setting a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest green bean casserole.
But Campbell’s doesn’t mind—it knows what works. Fresh versions of the casserole existed before Reilly’s easier version. Some even suggest she was inspired by a version she may or may not have tasted on a train ride from Baltimore to Philadelphia.
While over the years consumers have made the Casserole their own with healthy—and even Paleo—versions, Campbell’s has stayed tried and true, preserving the exact same recipe that was released back in 1955.
Elevate your offering with holiday marketing
That consistency gives families a chance to make it their own. It’s a great starter recipe for
As Campbell’s head of communication puts it —keeping it simple means that, “you probably have a high confidence level that you’re not going to screw it up. Especially if you’re new to the family.”
Long story short: For companies looking for brand capital and sales longevity, Campbell’s offers a condensed lesson. Holiday marketing has a special draw. Attach your product to a holiday or tradition and reap the rewards year after year.