Just in time for spring planting season, Campbell Soup Co. has completed a refresher of its social community Web site. The site now offers a promotion that lets visitors earn tomato seeds for the National Future Farmers of America organization—and for their own gardens—with a few clicks.
The FFA seed donations do not require a purchase; visitors can simply click on a “Grow!” button and earmark a packet of 50 seeds for the national FFA to distribute to a local chapter around the U.S. The site has set a goal of 22.5 million donated seeds, and clicking the button reveals how many clicks are still needed to reach that goal (340,429 at press time.) Users are encouraged to come back to the site the next day and click again.
They can also earn a seed donation to the FFA while scoring a packet of 100 tomato seeds for themselves, by purchasing any brand of Campbell’s condensed soup and entering the codes found at the bottom.
Other pages on the site let visitors get a look at some of the community gardens that will benefit from their seed donations, including agricultural education in urban sites such as Los Angeles, Detroit, Camden NJ and New York City. Once the seeds are distributed and planted and the gardens have begun to grow, the page will offer further content and photos of each of these projects.
The refurbished site also offers a primer on growing tomato plants, tapping into the expertise Campbell says it has amassed from more than 100 years of advising the farmers who produce crops for its founding soup variety. The growing tips cover everything from planting the seeds and transferring the seedlings through harvesting and storage.
They even suggest that empty Campbell’s Soup cans are the perfect size container in which would-be farmers can start their crops. “Keep the iconic label on for a decorative touch!”
The Web site also links to a page that details Campbell’s efforts to promote sustainable agriculture in producing its soups with initiatives to improve water management, reduce pesticides and alleviate soil erosion. G2 Interactive, the digital division of agency G2, directed the creative development and execution of the Campbell community site relaunch.
Campbell has long been involved in corporate social responsibility efforts, mostly around supporting agriculture and farming communities. The company began partnering with the National Future Farmers of America last year, when the company launched a community program to fix up and preserve five iconic red barns around the country and teach youngsters about America’s farming heritage. Last Christmas the company also teamed with Hallmark to offer an e-greeting card that generated a $1 per-click contribution to the National FFA.
The effort was intended to produce a contribution of up to $250,000 for the organization.
So far, the current recession seems to be treating Campbell’s soup business fairly well. In late February the company reported that sales of ready-to-eat soups jumped 7% for the second quarter of 2009, producing a 3% increase in U.S. profits in its core soup business. However, the company’s other divisions saw slower growth or decreases for the quarter.
Earlier this week Campbell Soup CEO Douglas Conant told a Reuters Food and Agriculture summit that the tight economy is leading more consumers to eat meals at home, including soup.
“Sales are growing, our marketplace presence is growing, consumer purchases are actually growing faster than sales,” Conant said in press reports. “We’ve had the best year in soup that I’ve experienced in my nine years here.”