Brandable: A Soup-er Summer

 

Temperatures are soaring into the triple-digits, or close to it, and you’re enjoying a sunny Saturday basking in the sun, poolside, with friends. All is well until you notice your stomach is rumbling, and you can’t wait to reach for a bowl of delicious, flavorful, hot soup—yes, soup. The unlikely pairing of soup and sunshine is the focus of Panera Bread’s latest marketing campaign, which includes a selection of branded swim suits and an aptly-designed pool float to promote the bakery-café, fast-casual restaurant chain’s soup sales during the summer months.

In a survey of 700 U.S. respondents conducted by Panera Bread through Google in July, the company found that 70 percent of patrons still enjoy having soup in hot weather; a finding that prompted the company to offer its limited-edition Swim-Soup Collection. Apparel items include two one-piece swim suits and two complementary swim trunks. One of the one-pieces features “SOUP” written in large, uppercase letters across the chest, and is in the same olive green shade that’s used in Panera Bread’s branding, and is matched to a swim trunk in the same color. The other option is a one-piece with an allover print of broccoli dipped in cheddar and a matching swim trunk; a homage to Panera Bread’s ever-popular broccoli cheddar soup. To complete the collection, there’s also the inflatable Bread Bowl Pool Float. The collection is available through the Swim Soups website (swimsoups.com) and all of the items are reasonably priced; the one-pieces and swim trunks are $25 each, and the float is $20, and shipping is free.

This campaign from the St. Louis-based company comes at a time far from typical “soup weather”: when the collection was announced, states in the Western U.S. were reporting record-breaking temperatures nearing 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Some may wonder, who is reaching for soup in this heat? Well, according to the results of a recent survey by Panera Bread, most of its customers are. The company is known for its efforts to listen to customers and meet their needs, and also for being an active listener across its social media channels. Panera Bread engaged fans online in the announcement of its new collection through aligned but playful and relevant posts. On Twitter, posts included a photo of its bread float with a caption that read, “Bread rises. A Bread Bowl FLOATS. #FoodForThought,” and “Have a pool? You knead a Bread Bowl Floaty. Don’t have a pool? You STILL knead a Bread Bowl Floaty.”

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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