Campbell's Soup Exec Writes to Andy Warhol

4843441474_f175f96718_b.jpg Marylin Terrell writes in:
The product marketing manager for Campbell Soup wrote this delightfully jargon-free letter to Andy Warhol in 1964 after Warhol rocked the art world with his silk-screen portraits of Campbell Soup. Instead of threatening to sue for copyright infringement, the exec sent Warhol a couple of cases of tomato soup.
Read the rest at Letters of Note: I hear you like Tomato Soup [via Holykaw]


    1. Possibly the company would have still have the sense to realise Warhol was not putting the cans in a bad light, and it was therefore a great and free viral marketing campaign.

      Bet they’d still try to get a free print…

      1. I don’t know… that never seems to occur to the idiots who send out takedown notices for movie trailers, or television ads.

      2. Oh, I think the author of this letter, William P. MacFarland, is TOTALLY angling for a free print. However, he is doing it in the nicest possible way!

  1. The ironic part of this story is that today, if you appropriate anything from Andy Warhol’s works, the lawyers for his foundation are on your butt faster than you can say Campbells.

  2. This letter needs to be mandatory reading for anyone who works in any PR capacity for any firm.

  3. Yo dawg I heard you like tomato soup so we put some tomato soup in your inbox so you can eat tomato soup while you paint tomato soup.

  4. I guess this kind of behavior depends on the company. About eight years ago, while I was working on Will & Grace, we had an episode (written by Sally Bradford) that made a small joke at the expense of Fuddruckers. To wit:

    (WILL is sitting at the table reading when GRACE enters, carrying a business suit. She shows WILL the suit, holding it up to her body.)

    GRACE: Ok. What does this say to you?

    WILL: It says… this is our busiest night at Fuddruckers; I can’t seat you without a reservation.

    Anyway, somebody at Fuddruckers was delighted, and they sent the writers a grateful note of appreciation and a $500 gift certificate (cheekily, they sent a four-foot-long sweepstakes-winner/philanthropic-contribution giant-size certificate).

    Nice of ’em (especially considering it was such a throwaway joke that didn’t exactly sell Fuddruckers as a great place to eat), but since none of our writers were particularly avid meat-eaters, a bunch of us in the Production Office dressed up nice, toted the giant certificate off to the Burbank Fuddruckers, and pretended to be the writers of the show. We stuffed ourselves on free burgers, and the store manager made a handwritten notation on the certificate deducting our $160 bill from the $500. If anyone knew where that certificate ended up after the show wrapped (it hung on the office wall for years), and didn’t mind schlepping it back to Fuddruckers, they might still honor the balance.

  5. Pretty cute letter. I especially like the letterhead. So…homey. He’s definitely angling for a print, which should sort of clue you in to what sort of money marketing managers made (or didn’t) in the 60’s.

    FWIW, “jargon” didn’t really start becoming the mother tongue of marketing departments until the 80’s or so. In the 60’s, people still spoke and wrote fairly standard conversational English.

  6. It just occurred to me how relevant Warhol’s “famous for 15 minutes” quote is in the age of YouTube.

    1. In a later interview Warhol said:

      I’m bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is, “In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous.”

      …which could be, I dunno– Twitter or something?

  7. Little would we realize, but in the mid 21st century, Paul W. MacFarland, great-grandson of William P. MacFarland, would run the world’s most profitable gaming company by encouraging mods, player-created content, and fan produced advertising.

    Also, sun starts rising in the west, cats live with dogs, DRM becomes a capital crime, Cory shoots unicorns out of his a– ears, etc & etc.

  8. This is pretty hilarious. And they gave him a couple cases of soup!

    A couple years ago I bought a case of soup to keep in my office for quick lunches. I think I still have some left.

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