Have you ever peeled the label off of a can of food? Without their labels, all cans would look pretty much alike. The only way to tell what's inside would be to open them. But labels don't just tell us what's inside a can—they also help people recognize and select their favorite brands. How can a little piece of paper be so important?
Informative and Iconic
If you remove a label from a can, you'd see that it flattens into a rectangle. Its length is the same as the circumference of the can, and its height is approximately equal to the height of the can. Different companies use different labels. Some have pictures of the food inside. Others have pictures of mascots, like Charlie the Tuna of the StarKist brand. However, one of the world's most famous labels belongs to the Campbell's Soup can. People all over the world recognize the simple red, white, and gold labels.
Campbell's began to market condensed soup in 1897. By taking most of the water out of the soup, the company was able to ship it in smaller cans. This allowed Campbell's to sell smaller cans and lower their prices. The company became one of the world's biggest canned soup producers. By 1900, the company had adopted the iconic label that we still know today.
In 1962, artist Andy Warhol made Campbell's Soup the talk of the art world. He premiered 32 paintings of the company's soup cans, one for each flavor on the market at the time. His work, titled Campbell's Soup Cans, contributed to the expansion of the pop art movement. His decision to focus on Campbell's suddenly turned the mundane, familiar label into a cool icon of youth culture.
See for yourself: http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=79809
Watch the videos below to learn more about Andy Warhol's work, see how Campbell's celebrated the 50th anniversary of Campbell's Soup Cans, and find out how much one man's Andy Warhol memorabilia is worth.