Camden-based Campbell Soup Co. has entered its first full movie partnership, with The Tale of Despereaux.

The partnership has Campbell promoting the movie on 50 million cans of chicken noodle and tomato soups - not just kid's soups, a company spokesman said - with an image of the movie's eponymous mouse-hero on the label. Also, Campbell has set up movie-related content on its children's Web site (, along with tie-ins with the Universal Pictures movie.

There is no Campbell product placement in the movie, John Faulkner, director of brand communications, said this morning.

He would not disclose the financial arrangements.

The company had a tie-in with Shrek a few years ago, but nothing to this extent, Faulkner said.

"Because we don't do this all the time, we're not looking to sell a lot of Campbell's licensed product," Faulkner said.

He said the company's involvement began more than 18 months ago, when its ad agency rep suggested a tie-in with the movie, which was in the early stages of being developed.

"The other component we really liked about the movie is it really promotes reading," Faulkner said.

To that end, the company invited Camden elementary school students - with whom it already has a relationship - to visit Friday for soup and storytelling, including a reading of The Tale of Despereaux by the book's Merion-born author, Kate DiCamillo. (DiCamillo won the 2004 Newbery Medal for the children's book.) Each student was given a copy of the book.

Also as part of the campaign, Campbell is supporting Los Angeles-based Lollipop Theater Network, which screens current movies for hospital-bound children, and sponsored the New York premiere.

The company also donated 1,000 of the special Despereaux soup cans to the Food Bank of New York City.