CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup is tapping Andy Warhol for another 15 minutes of fame.
The world's biggest soup maker plans to introduce special-edition cans of its condensed tomato soup bearing labels reminiscent of the pop artist's paintings at Target stores starting Sunday. The 1.2 million cans will cost 75 cents each.
The Campbell Soup Co.'s embrace of Warhol's iconic imagery is a switch from its initial reaction, when the company considered taking legal action before deciding to see how the paintings were received by the public.
"There's some evidence to show there was a little bit of concern," said Jonathon Thorn, an archivist for Campbell Soup. "But they decided to take a wait-and-see approach."
By 1964, however, the company realized the paintings were becoming a phenomenon and embraced the depictions. Campbell's marketing manager even sent Warhol a letter expressing admiration for his work and had cases of tomato soup delivered to the artist.
Later that same year, Campbell commissioned Warhol to do a painting of a can of Campbell's tomato soup as a gift for its retiring board chairman, Oliver G. Willits; Warhol was paid $2,000 for the work.
The cans to be sold at Target will come in four color schemes, with famed Warhol quotes such as "In the future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes."