The image: When Andy Warhol introduced his iconic paintings of Campbell's Soup cans 50 years ago, the company considered taking legal action to stop him, before deciding to wait and see how the work was received. Soon enough, the soup manufacturer, realizing that the images were wildly popular, embraced Warhol's art. A marketing executive even sent Warhol a couple cases of tomato soup as a token of appreciation. Now the world's biggest soup maker is celebrating the landmark anniversary of Warhol's 32 Campbell's Soup Cans — and boosting sagging sales — by selling special-edition cans of its condensed tomato soup bearing labels reminiscent of Warhol's work. (See an example at right and below.) The 1.2 million cans go on sale Sunday at Target, and will come in four color schemes, each with a famous Warhol quote, such as, "In the future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes."
The reaction: Finally, a piece of Warhol art I can afford, says Andre Liszewski at Gizmodo. The platinum-haired master's paintings can sell for millions at auction, but at 75 cents a can, anyone can "recreate one of his more recognizable pieces," right in their own pantry! These cans are "undeniably eye-catching," says Hillary Busis at Entertainment Weekly. Campbell's is clearly trying to "reinvigorate their brand" and these hip, brightly colored cans might actually help them "stand out on the shelves." Looks like Warhol's trick of hijacking existing imagery and making it his own has come full circle, says ARTINFO. "The master of appropriation is being appropriated." Take a look at Campbell's tribute to Warhol: