New Hormel Campaign Beefs Up Portfolio Strength


One ad, for instance, shows  a family living in a house that's overgrown with grass because they've decided to go "all natural." A voiceover counters, "Do you really have to go all out to go all natural?...Not with Hormel Natural Choice sandwich meats," it says, touting the line's lack of preservatives.

Another shows a man going to such extremes to fit in a 10-minute bite (his female co-worker simply microwaves some Hormel Compleats during that time) that he speeds down the street, gets hit by (and rolls over) a car and barely has any time to wolf it down.

The campaign comes as sales of Hormel products have benefitted from the recession-driven, eat-at-home trend. Dollar sales of its canned lunch meats, a $119 million business, rose 6.74 percent in the 52 weeks ended Dec. 27, per IRI, for instance. (The data excludes Walmart sales.) Bacon sales, meanwhile, were down 3.21 percent during that same time period.

Tom Denari, president of Young & Laramore, an advertising agency that works with companies like Procter & Gamble, said the campaign is a way for Hormel to contemporize its brand. "People think of Hormel as more of a canned product, and they're trying to connect [those products] with some of the newer and more contemporary [offerings] in their [portfolio]," he said. The common theme, he added, is that these foods all contain protein, so "they're trying to use that to create a halo effect and extend that to products that aren't selling as well or aren't as popular."

Hormel is typically the No. 1 or 2 player in most of the categories it operates in, which spans sausages, dinner hams and microwavable meals. The goal is to communicate to moms with school-aged children that she doesn't necessarily have to sacrifice time or quality to eat healthily, Weisenbeck said.

The tagline, Kroening added, hints that "there are better [meal solution] answers than you might think and [oftentimes], they're coming to you from Hormel," he said.

The company did not reveal the cost of the campaign, but Weisenbeck said the effort's total ad expenditure is 20 percent more than the combined amount spent on individual Hormel-branded campaigns over the last several years.

Agency partners, in addition to BBDO, include PHD (for media buying) in Minneapolis, Proximity for digital duties, pr firm Burson-Marsteller and Nsight Connect, part of the D.L. Ryan Companies, for consumer promotions and shopper marketing.