There is something so homely and comforting about a mug of hot soup. It works alongside blankets, slippers and chocolate digestives as items that improve winter, or in my current case, autumn. Today, I tried to master the bare legs in October look as my tan arrogance (always a negative consequence to some winter sun) challenged my common sense – head vs. skin, and the latter won. Fortunately I had food to fall back on; and not the kebabs, no salad, rice-laden spoils of Egypt, but hearty English food partnered with a wooly and mercifully concealing winter attire.
These values are what I believe Andy Warhol touched on when he created his famous Campbell Soup paintings and screenprints in the 1960s. The reliability in the outcome and simple pleasure of sipping a steaming mug of the red stuff was symbolic of the mass-consumption of the era. Campbell’s was the every person brand; crystallised in Warhol’s clean graphics and linear imagery, and iconic decades later. Ultimately, Warhol’s art endowed a nostalgic and sentimental value to their humble tin that resonates today. I like to call this the ‘retro factor’ because, perhaps lamely, I view an appreciation of Campbell Soup and the like, as a re-evaluation of the past, rather than being old-fashioned or narrow-minded (colloquial horrors such as “afraid to move on… stuck in the past” spring to mind).
As such, I admire Campbell’s latest marketing and packaging effort. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Warhol’s famous Condensed Soup cans, the brand have released this special edition packaging. Although unfortunately only available in America (and the Ebay blackmarket), the cans reference the artist’s use of bright colours and style. The only surprise is that this idea has not been done before… or has it?