Why Campbell’s Soup’s snowman spot retains a unique magic decades later

One of the most memorable and longest running Christmas ads, the Campbell's snowman still brings a warm feeling.

When the temperatures drop in the US, you can't always count on snowfall. But you can count on the reappearance of Campbell’s Snowman, who has endured since 1993 as a reminder of a cozy option to the winter's frost.

The 30-second spot, produced by the soup company and longtime agency partner BBDO New York, features quirky but convincing animation: A snowman chills outside in a snowfall until it just can't stand the cold anymore. It enters its house, shivers gruffly, and slides over to the kitchen table. A warm bowl of soup awaits, and as the snowman eats the soup he melts before our eyes. A grinning, almost radiating boy appears beneath the melted slush. As the camera zooms in on the boy, now cozy and warm, a jazzy-pop rendition of “Let It Snow” plays in the background.

Although the brand was mainly catering to parents when originally launching the ad, its strategy here was to also have children imagine how they’d spend a snowy winter day. And in doing so, it encouraged kids and parents to think about sharing that same warm feeling as the snow-kid on TV.

When you think of some of the more enduring commercials launched during the holiday seasons in the 1990s — the Hershey’s Kisses bell choir, the fainting of Santa and Red for M&Ms — you're bound to think of this spot right along with them. Spots like these share a warmth and little Santa-like wink that’s helped them remain a fan favorite over the past quarter-century.

As for Campbell’s and BBDO (who relinquished its partnership to Publicis earlier this year), they had a surefire hit to rely on during a peak season for the soup brand — as well as a nostalgic and effective way to retain its hold on the canned soup category.

What’s your pick for the best long-running campaign of all-time? Ahead of the annual The Drum Advertising Awards, The Drum has joined forces with leading industry legends and The Financial Times to recognize some of the most enduring campaigns of all-time.

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