Spam tries to get hip

Hormel Foods is launching a new advertising campaign around its iconic canned meat product, which turns 75 this year.

By Kim Peterson Feb 28, 2012 5:15PM
Credit: © Matt Rourke/AP
Caption: A can of SPAMSpam turns 75 on July 5 and, well, it might be feeling a little old.

It's hard to keep up with those youngsters on the grocery shelves. Campbell Soup (CPB) is getting a Thai tomato coconut flavor. Kraft (KFT) has new breakfast crisps. Ben & Jerry's now has Greek frozen yogurt.

But Spam? Well, Spam is just Spam, and it doesn't get a lot of love with health-conscious shoppers. Hormel Foods (HRL) has tried to keep Spam fresh in consumers' minds, but the canned pork just doesn't have enough buzz. Spam only has 1,246 Twitter followers -- even Purina Horse Feed has more.

So Hormel is out to change that. And it's starting with its first-ever spokescharacter: Sir Can-A-Lot. He's a 2.5-inch tall animated knight, Ad Age reports, and is supposed to "crusade to rescue the world from routine meals."

Sir Can-A-Lot is also going to help Spam make headway into social media. You can see one Spam commercial featuring the character here.

The first can of Spam was made in 1937 in Austin, Minn., according to Hormel. It was a hit, and by 1941 the company had sold 40 million pounds of the meat. Spam also played an important role in feeding Allied forces in World War II.

Spam isn't as popular now, but Hormel says it still sells 90 million cans of the meat in the U.S. each year. The company's stock price has risen 4% in the last year.

But the price of meat is rising, and Hormel said that's cutting into profits. The operating profit from Hormel's grocery products unit fell 9.2% in the quarter ended Jan. 29, Bloomberg reports. Wholesale-pork prices hit 88.2 cents a pound on Feb. 15 -- the highest since mid-December.

Hormel said its quarterly profit fell nearly 14% to $128.4 million.

So can Sir Can-A-Lot help Hormel reverse that trend? The first commercial in this campaign isn't all that exciting, and the new Spam website is clunky and confusing. Sir Can-A-Lot has his work cut out for him.

--Kim Peterson doesn't own any shares of the stocks mentioned. She has, however, made a mean Spam musubi.

Tags: CPBHRLKFT
44Comments
Feb 28, 2012 6:19PM
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  Spam has a very long history in helping many people stay alive during the WWII years and is still very well like in many families here in the USA, and help feed the troops during thet war, and still feeds many people who can ill afford to not depend on it, even if they don't like, it is still a value to those who unlike most detractors of it may not have an option to buy anything else, or are just to superior to try it in other ways tha just Spam, like the Hawaiians did and still do in the year 2012, and I keep it here at home because I like it in many different ways including cold sandwiches and as either a breakfast, lunch, or dinner hot meal for a very good tasty meal change.

   And I can afford to buy any kind of food when I want, when ever I want, but I still keep a few cans on hand. 

Feb 28, 2012 6:48PM
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I have a problem with the salt content to it but my wife is a Filipina and can really make good stuff with it.

(really I'm not lying)
Feb 28, 2012 7:14PM
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spam  it kept my dad well fed in the war and i still use it for making  a sandwich spresd fry it for breakfast lunch and dinner i have cans of it in my pantry love it
Feb 29, 2012 2:18AM
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I love how people can take an article about SPAM of all things and try to turn it political. Save your agendas for an appropriate forum.



Feb 29, 2012 11:25AM
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Like it or not - Spam is as American as Apple Pie and Baseball! Long live Spam!

Feb 28, 2012 7:39PM
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I grew up in Austin Mn so have eaten a lot of Spam. Love to make spam spread,put spam, hard boiled egg, pickle, onion,in a meat grinder add a little mayo, on fresh baked "white" bread. yum yum
Feb 28, 2012 9:37PM
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I buy the Low Sodium version (which is still pretty salty!) and slice them thinly (I like them on the crisp side), then fry up a couple of eggs and have it all for breakfast.  My husband does the same, but he sandwiches the Spam and eggs between two pieces of toast.  YUM!
Feb 28, 2012 8:47PM
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i am 70, been eating spam since forever, and will eat it til i die--love it on outdoor fire
Feb 29, 2012 7:38AM
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Kid camping breakfast essential. Fry Spam slices and scramble some eggs. One spam slice, a spoonful of eggs inserted into a hotdog bun. No plate, one pan to wash, no refrigeration required.
Feb 29, 2012 11:40AM
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I personally like Spam.  If you really want to eat garbage, check the lables to see what is in the hot dogs or lunch meat you eat.  Makes Spam look pretty good.
Feb 29, 2012 2:59AM
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Gens wrote: I grew up in Austin Mn so have eaten a lot of Spam. Love to make spam spread,put spam, hard boiled egg, pickle, onion,in a meat grinder add a little mayo, on fresh baked "white" bread. yum yum

My mother used to make the same spread when we were kids, i couldn't get enough of it. As a matter of fact i work overseas now and my next trip home i'm packing some SPAM!!!

Feb 28, 2012 10:19PM
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Spam,spam,spam,spam,spam,spam,spam,spam,​spaaaaam,wonderful spam...
Feb 29, 2012 1:41AM
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I love Spam, was my Dad's favorite sandwich meat , he ate it in ww11, and passed his love for it to me.   A cold Spam sandwich and mustard and onion on white bread and I'm good to go .
Feb 28, 2012 11:24PM
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Spam! Lovely Spam! I love Spam!   It sits on the shelf ready to use anytime.  You can do so much with it besides fry it up for breakfast, I dice it up to put in quiche, scallop potatoes, corn chowder and bean soup.   Roll sticks of Spam and cheese up in crescent rolls for a easy, finger and kid friendly snack, makes a great sandwich substute to go with soup, use it almost anywhere it calls for ham.    

Feb 28, 2012 9:29PM
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We don't have it very often, but we love it.   It  makes a fast, easy and cheap meal.  We make a spread with grated spam, grated cheddar cheese, pickles, onions and mayo.  You can put it on bread or crackers.  It is great with eggs.  I always try to have some on hand for a last minute meal. 

Feb 29, 2012 2:16AM
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  The love for Spam has been taken up by my granddaughter [who now is 18] and my young grandson [who will turn 5 on April 21st] from me, their "Papa", They both are known to snitch

Spam off of my plate, even if there is some on their plates.  But, I don't mind, I'll just open up another can. I personally like the Spam Lite and the Turkey Spam,  In fact , Spam with Mac 

and Cheese sounds good right now!. I also have the 3 Spam collector cans, empty of course.

Feb 29, 2012 1:42AM
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They should scrap the ad agency and just publicize this thread. It seems SPAM is roundly regarded.

Feb 28, 2012 10:21PM
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Spam is a threat to the galactic Empire!!!!
 The Emperor would never eat such vile crap!
 only ones with simple taste would consume such filth!
 
But I do like mine in a sandwich after being over a open flame!!!!!

Feb 28, 2012 11:42PM
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Ah spam: no matter what they say or try to do with it; We will continue our Love/Hate relationship and wouldn't have it any other way!
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