This Campbells soup ad features NFL Quarterback Matt Hasselback, who was playing for the Seattle Seahawks at the time this ad was produced. He is featured in a dark, grainy photograph where he is grim-faced, pumped up, sweaty in his workout clothes and holding a football. In the foreground of the image, a large, color image of Campbell’s Chunky Beef soup is positioned in front of Hasselbeck’s stomach/groin area. The text of the ad reads “Feed your NFL size hunger” and “Big chunks of beef. Big chunks of veggies. It fills you up right.” This last sentence is emphasized with italics.
What audience do you think this ad is targeting? How is the ad constructed to appeal to this audience?
Why do you think an NFL player was chosen to endorse this ad?
Are certain types of food “gendered” — that is, more masculine or feminine than others? How would you describe the gender of Campbell’s Chunky Soup? What aspects of the ad help you draw this conclusion?
Sexual connotations can be read into the imagery and text of this ad. The positioning of the soup and its prominence is phallic, and the notion of “hunger”, “big” and “fills you up” could be interpreted sexually. NFL players are often associated with hypermasculinity, and while Hasselbeck has not been embroiled in any public cases of sexual assault/violent crime, these scandals regularly plague the NFL and its players.