Campbell Soup 2000 Annual Report
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Campbell Soup 2000 Annual Report

Because 2000 was a disappointing year for the company, Campbell needed to provide shareowners with a picture of where the company is headed and that its future is promising.

Paul Holmes


Campbell Soup Company owns some of the world's best-known brands, including Campbell's, Pepperidge Farm, Godiva, V8 and Arnott’s. All are #1 or #2 in their category.  Yet 2000 was another difficult year for the company: sales and earnings declined and the company's stock price declined almost 50 percent. In addition, the company’s CEO resigned in the middle of the fiscal year and was replaced by the former CEO in the interim. This year's annual needed to paint a clear picture of the company’s turnaround plans.  It needed to highlight specific ways the company is fighting back to better win with consumers.


Campbell Soup's annual report is targeted to individuals, employees and institutional shareowners. 


Because 2000 was a disappointing year for the company, Campbell needed to provide shareowners with a picture of where the company is headed and that its future is promising. It needed to remind shareowners of the company’s past successes, its strong brand power and its unique heritage with consumers. It also needed to reinforce that Campbell has a strong leadership team running its businesses and that it has contemporary new products and new packaging for today’s consumer lifestyles.   


Since the M’m!,M’m! Good! slogan was being brought back into advertising and is one of the most recognized slogans in America, we decided to utilize it as our theme for the annual report this year, combined with our ultimate goal of “Winning With Consumers.” While the letter to shareowners from CEO David Johnson painted a frank picture of the company's performance during 2000, the editorial portion focused on the brand initiatives in each of our businesses.  To highlight Campbell’s leadership team, each business unit president was featured in a photo and addressed his team’s business successes for 2000 and innovative initiatives for 2001.

On the cover and throughout the book, we showcased a variety of consumers enjoying our many Campbell brands. We also featured our Labels for Education program, to highlight how Campbell’s is making a difference in schools across the country. This program has been available for more than 25 years and reinforces the commitment Campbell has to its communities.  

For our shareowner offer, we selected a collection of Andy Warhol licensed items to showcase our popular Campbell’s brand in a contemporary and trendy way. 


One of our biggest challenges was to present the interim CEO and the company in a credible way.  We needed to demonstrate to shareowners that we are moving forward with specific turnaround initiatives in our key businesses and that despite some difficult years Campbell Soup Company is a company with a strong financial foundation and many powerful consumer brands. 

We worked with Greeneggz no ham, Inc., a local design firm in Collingswood, New Jersey to design the report.  Internally, we worked closely with our interim CEO and consulted with each business unit president on the editorial and photographic images for his individual section.  

Each year, we survey 100 shareowners to determine what they liked and didn't like about our annual report. Sixty-six percent said they liked the report somewhat or very much, about even with last year.  We also asked if the annual report motivated shareowners to buy more stock, 15 percent said they were inclined to buy more stock and 74 percent said they would hold the stock.  It demonstrated that our 2000 annual report had communicated a positive message.  In addition, our annual report became a subject of positive (and negative) chatter on Yahoo. 

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