Don’t Mess With Camden, NJ
Growing up in Philadelphia in the 1980s, the city was continuing through its hard times. Population decreased, jobs fled, violence and crime surged, West Philadelphia burned as the MOVE situation raged out of control.
But the city had its immovable institutions, one of which remained Campbell’s Soup Company, across the river in the roughest town in Jersey — Camden.
From its headquarters right off the Ben Franklin Bridge across from Center City, Campbell’s produces more soup than any other company. It fills lunchboxes and stomachs of everyone from the poorest inner city kids to the wealthiest suburbanites. It understands the diversity of its customer base — possibly one of the most diverse in the world.
Recently, the company made the decision to advertise its product to gay families in The Advocate. The American Family Association went ballistic, but the company held its ground with the sort of gumption one would expect from a Philly-area institution:
“Our position on this is pretty straightforward,” said company rep Anthony Sanzio. “Inclusion and diversity play an important role in our business, and that fact is reflected in our marketing plan. For more than a century, people from all walks for life have enjoyed Campbell’s products, and we will continue to try to communicate in ways that are meaningful and relevant to them.”
He added: “Our plans for the Swanson brand include additional placements in The Advocate.”
AFA has met its rhetorical match, not from a political rival, but in the plucky soup cannery from Camden, NJ.
If only politicians could have that sort of backbone!