When you grab a can of Progresso soup with its utilitarian blue label, what comes to mind? You probably wouldn’t say “locally sourced and produced”… and neither would Campbell’s… and neither, it turns out, would the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
General Mills, the owners of the Progresso brand, recently found themselves in hot water (soup pun!) for a series of ads implying that Vineland, New Jersey is the “Home of Progresso.” Though that is technically where Progresso’s headquarters is located, the soup brand’s competitor Campbell’s felt the ads too strongly suggested that all of Progresso’s soups were sourced and made there as well.
As one giant soup company does when they are upset with another giant soup company, Campbell’s took their complaint to the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. (I’m imagining it like the Jedi Council but with far fewer light sabers.) In the end, the NAD “recommended that General Mills, Inc., modify or discontinue certain broadcast advertisements for the company’s Progresso-brand soups, finding that the advertising conveyed the unsupported message that most or all of the ingredients are sourced from farms in rural, southern New Jersey,” according to ASRC.
It’s worth noting that a recommendation from the NAD is “not a finding of wrongdoing.” In fact, in a statement from General Mills, the company stated that it “is pleased with NAD’s decision and agrees to comply with its recommendations.”
These soup companies all seem so congenial. I’m actually starting to feel bad I called Progresso’s labels “utilitarian.” I’m sorry, Progresso. If two soup companies can make it work, I think I can become a nicer person as well.
[h/t The Consumerist]