In this file:
· How Spam became one of the most iconic American brands of all time
· Media Release: Hormel Foods Announces SPAMtastic™ Reopening of World-Famous SPAM® Museum
How Spam became one of the most iconic American brands of all time
Ayalla A. Ruvio, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Michigan State University
The Conversation/Yahoo News - July 1, 2020
While you might think of Spam as a basic canned meat, it’s actually one of the greatest business success stories of all time: Since Hormel Foods Corporation launched the affordable, canned pork product in 1937, it’s sold over eight billion cans in 44 countries around the world.
Spam’s birthday is July 5th. It’s fitting that this comes only a day after the birthday of the United States. The product is up there with Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut as one of the most distinctive American brands of all time.
As a consumer behavior researcher, I believe Spam’s widespread success can be attributed to two factors: it addressed a real need, and also formed an emotional connection with its consumers, by tapping into American ideals like ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Spam ‘hits the spot’
Spam isn’t exactly the most exciting product.
The original recipe included chopped pork shoulder meat with ham, salt, water, sugar and sodium nitrite. (This remained unchanged until 2009, when Hormel added potato starch in an effort to eliminate one of the product’s less attractive features: the gelatin layer created by the cooking process.) At the time it was introduced, it was the only canned meat product on the market that needed no refrigeration. This feature gave Spam a significant competitive advantage.
Hormel also created buzz around its new product by sponsoring a name contest to promote it.
The winner was an actor named Kenneth Daigneau, who was awarded US0 for coming up with the name “Spam.” (He was also the brother of Hormel’s vice president, so there may have been a bit of nepotism involved.)
Anointed with its new name, the product was buoyed by a heavy advertising effort that emphasized its versatility. For example, in 1940, Hormel fielded submissions from Spam fans to create a 20-page recipe book featuring 50 ways of incorporating the canned meat into meals.
Homemakers readily embraced Spam, and it became a popular lunch and breakfast meat. But sales really took off during World War II. Over 150 million pounds were used in the war effort, making Spam a cornerstone of troops’ diets. (Soldiers also used Spam’s grease to lubricate their guns and waterproof their boots.) In each country where they were stationed, American soldiers introduced it to the locals, giving foreigners their first taste of Spam.
Since then, Spam has become a sought-after product in many countries around the world, especially those that have faced economic hardship. Because it’s cheap, filling and has a long shelf life, it addresses a real need.
As American as apple pie?
But how did it become such a cultural icon?
In a 2012 paper, marketing researchers Rajeev Batra, Aaron Ahuvia and Richard P. Bagozzi developed a model of “brand love.” Based on studies on consumers’ brand attachment, they showed that in order to form meaningful attachment with brands, consumers need to experience them in ways beyond simply buying and using the product.
Hormel seemed to intuitively understand these ideas. Simply selling a cheap, useful product wouldn’t be enough. In creative and humorous ways that went beyond traditional advertising, they appealed to consumers by positioning the brand as a patriotic food that reflected American ingenuity – with a streak of eccentricity.
In the years after the war, the Hormel Girls – a musical troupe of female World War II veterans – traveled the country performing songs and promoting the product. The group even starred in a top-rated radio show on three national networks.
Since then, the Spamarama cooking festival (1976-2007), a Spam museum (1991), a Spam recipe contest (1991), a Spam-sponsored NASCAR race car (1995) and even a 2005 Broadway musical – “Spamalot” – all enhanced what’s called the brand experience, the way consumers interact and connect with a product.
These marketing ventures were accompanied by the introduction of new products and flavors. The Spamburger (1992), Spam Lite with 50 percent less fat (1995), Spam Hot and Spicy (2000), Spam with Bacon (2004), Spam Teriyaki and Spam Jalapeńo (2012) reflected consumers’ evolving tastes and preferences. Spam Spread was even introduced just in case you’re “a spreader, not a slicer.”
Refashioning Spam in the 21st century ...
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Hormel Foods Announces SPAMtastic™ Reopening of World-Famous SPAM® Museum
Museum's SPAMbassadors™ begin live virtual tours for groups from Hawaii to the United Kingdom
Source: Hormel Foods Corporation
via PRNewswire - Jul 02, 2020
AUSTIN, Minn., July 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), a global branded food company, and its SPAM® brand, one of the most beloved consumer brands in the world, today announced the reopening of its one-of-a-kind SPAM® Museum in Austin, Minn. In addition to hosting in-person visits, the award-winning museum is offering live virtual tours for those who prefer to visit virtually. Each year, the museum attracts fans from around the world from as far away as Australia, the United Kingdom, the Philippines and Hawaii. The museum is one of the most visited attractions in the state of Minnesota, and certainly is one of the most unique in the world.
In order to flatten the curve of cases of COVID-19, the state of Minnesota closed all museums to help stop the spread of the virus. Over that time, the SPAM® Museum's team of SPAMbassadors™ remained busy, helping to deliver more than 20,000 meals to seniors in the Austin community while the museum was closed.
"While being closed was the right thing to do to help curb the spread of COVID-19, we are so excited to open our actual doors and our virtual one and welcome guests back to our museum," said Savile Lord, SPAM® Museum and community relations manager at Hormel Foods. "For those visiting us in person, we have robust cleaning and sanitation protocols in place, as well as following social distancing guidelines provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, to provide the safest experience for our guests while giving them a SPAMtastic™ tour."
As an innovative way to help everyone across the globe take in all the sights, sounds and exhibits at the SPAM® Museum, the team has launched a live virtual tour option via Zoom.
"Instead of recording a virtual tour and having people play a video on their devices, we wanted to create a more personal experience and provide a customized tour for each group, like we would do if they were at the museum," said Lord. "When guests sign up for a live virtual tour, one of our outstanding SPAMbassadors™ will lead them on a tour and interact with each person or group in real time, providing the memorable experience we are known for."
The museum's address and hours of operation can be found at https://www.spam.com/museum.
To sign up for a virtual tour, please email email@example.com.
For more information about the lunch delivery program for seniors conducted by the SPAM® Museum SPAMbassadors™, please visit https://www.hormelfoods.com/inspired/story/hormel-foods-gives-back-to-battle-hunger-food-insecurity-throughout-the-covid-19-crisis/. For more information about the SPAM® Museum, please visit www.spam.com/museum.
ABOUT HORMEL FOODS — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™
Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenue across more than 80 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin's®, Wholly®, Hormel® Black Label®, Columbus®, Happy Little Plants® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named on the "Global 2000 World's Best Employers" list by Forbes magazine for three straight years, is one of Fortune magazine's most admired companies, has appeared on Corporate Responsibility Magazine's "The 100 Best Corporate Citizens" list for 11 years in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts. The company lives by its purpose statement — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ — to bring some of the world's most trusted and iconic brands to tables across the globe. For more information, visit www.hormelfoods.com and http://csr.hormelfoods.com/.
SOURCE Hormel Foods Corporation