A Moment’s Relief
The comedic premise underlying both of these commercials is that you, the viewer would never do such things. Or, if you did, and if you were about to be caught, at the very least you would confess to it. These commercials are targeted at people who do do things like that, and get away with them frequently (without a hint of suspicion – or at least not expressed suspicion). Campbell’s knows that such people, despite their “success”, (deservedly) feel guilt and self-contempt about it (despite their having most likely consciously accepted the moral-practical dichotomy), and that they will be receptive to any message which makes those feelings go away.
The message “if you were really bad, that is what you would do” provides a moment’s relief for them, and then itself goes away (because it is as specious the moral-practical dichotomy). Nevertheless, it remains as a message (if no longer a feeling) – ready to be used the next time such people do something “practical” (read: immoral), and end up feeling ashamed yet again. Campbell’s hopes that when that happens such people will remember what provoked the formation of that rationalization and, should they be hungry, or planning to go to the grocery store, or whatever, they will think of Campbell’s Soup too.
Evidently it’s not enough anymore for a for-profit company to simply count on the fact that it’s product satisfies an objective need or legitimate want, and that it’s advertising has adequately informed the consumer to the point that when it’s time to fulfill it, his rational mind will decide to make the purchase. Instead, because of today’s highly-regulated and taxed macroeconomic environment, where the long-term has to be sacrificed to the short-term, the only thing a company can do is whatever is necessary – no matter how pernicious and manipulative – to amass as much revenue as possible, as quickly as possible.