Campbell’s Soup recently introduced customers to its newest line: Campbell’s soup via K-cup. Was this a thoughtful move? Keller (2013) pointed out that brands have to be careful when extending their product offerings or stretching their brand name. He said that brands can experience a “lack of control that arise[s] from being aligned with another brand in the minds of consumers (Keller, 2013, pg. 243). While K-Cup has a significant following, there are some haters. Keurig Green Mountain produced 9.8 billion K-Cups in 2014, none of which are recyclable or biodegradable (Godoy, 2015). Mike Hachey, CEO of Egg Studios, released a mock horror film in January to bring awareness to the “monster of an environmental mess” (as cited in Godoy, 2015).
Adding insult to injury, one of the founders of Keurig stated in an interview in March that he wished he hadn’t ever invented it (Hamblin, 2015). Keurig has not sat idly by; the company has responded and committed itself to “making 100% of K-Cups recyclable by 2020” (“Reducing Product Waste”, n.d.) Even still, was this the best time for Campbell’s to extend their brand with Keurig? With the enormous amount of publicity regarding this, Campbell’s no doubt knew the environmental issue was brewing. Perhaps the soupmaker was betting that this was not a deal breaker for their core customer? Reward outweighs risk? Nonetheless, I wonder if there will be blowback with Campbell’s extending their brand in a way that is potentially seen as bad for the environment.
Godoy, M. (2015, January 28). Coffee horror: parody pokes at environmental absurdity of K-cups. National Public Radio. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/01/28/379395819/coffee-horror-parody-pokes-at-environmental-absurdity-of-k-cups
Hamblin, J. (2015, March 2). A brewing problem. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/
Keller, K. L. (2013). Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity. (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Kill the K-Cup [Video file]. (2015, January 7). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=52&v=uRGiGbX9lIo
Reducing Product Waste. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.keuriggreenmountain.com/en/Sustainability/SustainableProducts/OurProducts/ReducingProductWaste.aspx