Progresso’s bluff has been called on a new set of ads that make the almost-comical insinuation that its line of General Mills–brand soups are locally sourced in rural New Jersey. The Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division was not impressed by the four spots, which paint a picture of “an agrarian paradise where all of the ingredients are locally harvested and lovingly stirred into small batches of fresh, tasty soup,” as Consumerist puts it.
Each ad begins in a bucolic field with the words “Vineland, NJ” and “Home of Progresso” up above, then shows tractors driving around and fresh ingredients going into cast-iron pots. In a strict mailing-address sense, Vineland is Progresso’s home (though who knows where the ad shot that pasture?). But basically everything else in them was dismissed by the BBB’s ad-watchdog group as misleading:
It’s hard to imagine the company thought the locavore insinuation would fly. The reason the ads ended up before the BBB was because Campbell’s caught wind of them. The group also didn’t like the direct claim that Vineland is home to all Progresso soups, since the brand has enough soups to warrant more than one factory. Progresso has agreed to quit running the ads or modify them so they’re accurate, whatever that would look like. So, point: Campbell’s.