Bad Title, Cool Contest for Campbell’s ‘Hack the Kitchen’

By Jordan Teicher 


Campbell’s, everyone’s favorite overrated food conglomerate, is looking to team up with some smart app developers for the new Hack the Kitchen contest that runs through Feb. 1. Participants are supposed to design web or mobile programs that help customers answer the question: What’s for dinner tonight?


Ten finalists will be chosen to present their innovative ideas to a panel at Google HQ. The winner receives a $50k prize package and a development contract with Campbell’s.

We’re checking to see if this was created in-house, which if so, could perhaps account for the crappy title. We get it, hacking connotes badboy geeks who are Internet outlaws, but this is a Campbell’s contest. As in Campbell Soup Company, the same brand with the chicken noodle soup that tastes like plastic, and the same company that epitomizes feel-good American consumerism. Throwing a buzzword in front of the title doesn’t make it any hipper.

The contest is about as open-ended as it gets. Campbell’s director of global marketing and social media Adam Kmiec referred to the venture as “a blank canvas” for participants, a strategy that often lacks creativity, but is ultimately shrewd because the contestant does all the work. These contests typically reek of intellectual property exploitation, but for $50k, the juice might be worth the squeeze for a young developer with a good idea. It’s mutualism without too much of the plastic aftertaste.