Earlier this month, Target released a limited edition (1.2 million) of Andy Warhol’s brightly colored Campbell’s tomato soup cans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his first paintings of them.
And the nation seems to be storming its Target stores for this reintroduction to the pop art icon.
Scroll through eBay and you’ll find more than 160 offerings of singles, sets and cases of cans. From Kentucky to Kansas to Indiana, Oregon, New York and California. Some promise that the cans come from environments which are “smoke-free and pet-free.” Others offer free shipping and God’s blessing. Prices range from $5 to $26.50 and more per set. Not bad considering they retail for 75 cents a piece, with a whole set going for $3 (assuming you can find one).
If you can’t find the cans, you can use the artofsoup app, play the Campbell’s Soup memory game or share photos, stories and recipes on the Campbell’s Soup Facebook page. Campbell’s has partnered with the Andy Warhol Foundation to license his images and name – a shrewd move on the part of the foundation. That’s because it should provide plenty of publicity ahead of its sale of most of its art holdings at Christies later this fall. The Metropolitan Museum of Art no doubt appreciates the buzz, too, considering it will open a major Warhol exhibit Sept. 18.
Meanwhile, I’ve found that the cans make an affordable and cool hostess gift. I was told by my local Target that there would be a limit of five per customer, so I solicited friends and family to make extra buys. Now here I am with dozens of cans of tomato soup with a stamped shelf life of August 2013.
But not everyone is in on the event. One Target shopper I encountered early Sunday morning knew nothing about Andy Warhol, was oblivious to the promotion and confessed she didn’t like tomato soup. Yet I watched as she added three commemorative cans to her cart. She said they matched her kitchen.