Hormel's Spam as a Cure for the Blahs


Expect to see more spam on your TV soon.

A push for Hormel’s iconic canned-meat product -- not the unwanted e-mail of the same name -- by BBDO, Minneapolis, comes at a time when sales of the item have soared by double digits, per market research firm IRI. Plus, budget-minded consumers are increasingly browsing the center aisles of stores, which house many canned goods, including Spam.

Hormel, which spent $13 million advertising Spam last year, originally introduced the product as a wartime staple in 1937. It has since become the subject of many jokes and urban legends for its “mystery” combination of chopped pork shoulder, ham, salt and flavorings, in addition to being a synonym for junk e-mail.

Taking those connotations into account, the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously in new animated spots breaking this week. One shows a Spam can coming to the rescue while a professor, in a wearisome voice, briefs his “students” on the dangers of bread “crust removal.” (Hint: Pairing Spam with bread makes for a better sandwich.)

In a similar vein, another spot shows a bunch of eggs responding to the teacher’s roll call (they’re all called “egg,” apparently). Without warning, a can of Spam, dancing to disco music, bursts into the room, and two eggs are so happy they come together and crack.

Laika, an animation studio based in Oregon, integrated stop-motion technology into the spots. (The agency also worked on the 3-D, stop-motion February motion picture hit, Coraline.)

Swen Neufeldt, group product manager for grocery products at Hormel, said the brand wanted to stand out. Ads for food products usually show a family gathered around a plate of food smiling, but Spam wanted more than that, he said.

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