Campbell’s Nourish: Authentic Social Purpose or Smart Marketing - By Paul Klein

Paul also writes a blog about Corporate Responsibility for Canadian Business online, sits on the Advisory Board for the Centre for CSR at the Queen's School for Business, and has written extensively for publications in Canada and the United States.
Mar 1, 2011 8:17 AM ET
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Campbell’s Nourish: Authentic Social Purpose or Smart Marketing


As reported by Jessica Leeder in today’s Globe and MailCampbell Canada‘s new Six Grain Vegetable formulation, branded Nourish, is the first Canadian private-sector, not-for-profit product tailored to address the growing problem of world hunger. According to the Globe, Nourish was developed by socially conscious Campbell staffers and will only be distributed to food banks not to consumers. The intent is that Nourish will “ultimately filter into the hands of the world’s hungriest via humanitarian aid organizations, making a dent in global food insecurity.”

Ms. Leeder writes that “Nourish and the ensuing marketing effort has propelled Campbell’s into the midst of a thorny international debate over the future of humanitarian food aid and whether there is a role for a profit-driven food industry in solving hunger.”

While I haven’t been able to find any evidence of the debate (and would welcome readers to share anything that is relevant), there is a valid question to be asked: Is Nourish an authentic social purpose brand or just a smart way to increase competitive differentiation and brand loyalty among mainstream consumers?

As corporate responsibility continues to become a higher priority for consumers, regulators, shareholders, and employees, the lines between profits and purpose will continue to become more blurry. In this context how can we best discern the difference?

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