Friday, April 20, 2018
Features and More

Hormel turns to social media to reach out to Spam fans

After 75 years, Spam is going social. Big time.

Hormel's popular canned meat product is attempting to boost both brand loyalty and sales by marketing in social media with real-time messages through its mascot and spokesman, Sir Can-A-Lot.

A new season for Dancing With the Stars began? There was Sir Can-A-Lot the next day doing — what else? — the cancan.

March Madness is under way? There's Sir Can-A-Lot flying across the screen attempting to do a Michael Jordan-esque slow-motion slam dunk.

The Facebook and Twitter campaign, which also includes Pinterest, is part of Spam's March emphasis on social media under the theme of "Break the Monotony" of home-cooked meals by adding Spam, the largest-selling canned meat product in the United States.

"Spam is as American as apple pie. No one can steal that from us because of Spam's tradition," said Nicole Behne, Hormel's senior product manager for the Spam brand. "We need to continue to innovate."

The social media campaign is the work of Minneapolis-based BBDO Proximity, which has served as Hormel's only advertising agency for more than 80 years.

The Spam team meets daily, constantly surfs the Internet to see what topics are generating buzz on any particular day and then social media posts — usually less than 15 seconds in length — are developed. The voice of Sir Can-A-Lot comes from a professional voice-over actor in Los Angeles. The animation work is shipped to a specialty shop in Portland, Ore.

"It's almost like a newsroom," said BBDO executive creative director Brian Kroening of the immediacy of the campaign.

Behne said Hormel researched its Spam customers — both lovers and occasional users — before launching its first national digital advertising campaign.

"We found that those families are more digitally engaged. They're into crafting, they have hobbies, they love to cook," Behne said. "They're social, so we can go where they are."

Despite all the jokes made about Spam, it remains a very popular staple among U.S. consumers, with a growing international following. Spam is available in 44 countries.

In the United States, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm, Spam sales were up nearly 7 percent in the 12 months ending Feb. 24.

Behne said Spam's market share in the canned luncheon meat category is 87 percent, according to AC Nielsen data. She noted that online advertising can be less expensive than traditional print and broadcast advertising.

"Social media allows us to target our message to a narrower base of consumers that have a higher likelihood of buying this product, which makes it more cost effective," she said.

Kroening called the Spam community "a built-in nation of enthusiasts."

Comments
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Updated: 2 hours ago
On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

TAMPA — Appropriately enough, a local distillery is releasing a hemp vodka on Friday, 4/20.After more than a year of planning and research, Fat Dog Spirits — the parent company of Touch Vodka — is releasing its new Nirvana vodka.Served in 750-millile...
Published: 04/19/18
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

SPRING HILL Joe Lemieux sat on the cream sofa near several relics from another era in his life, out of place in this retiree’s pastel-tinged living room and brought into the morning light specifically for this occasion. There was a beaded nec...
Published: 04/19/18
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline? One last pun, just for fun. It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish. Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the T...
Published: 04/19/18
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

As a person who has no intention of ever going into the bar business, I spend a good amount of time thinking about what makes bar concepts work. I think about themes, branding, menus, location and myriad other factors that ultimately play into a bar’...
Published: 04/19/18
Richard’s Rockin’ Birthday Starfruit Lambic, Ulele

Richard’s Rockin’ Birthday Starfruit Lambic, Ulele

To celebrate the birthday of its owner, Richard Gonzmart, Tampa’s Ulele restaurant tapped its most ambitious brew yet (with a name to match): Richard’s Rockin’ Birthday Starfruit Lambic.Unlike traditional Belgian lambics — sour ales spontaneously fer...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Published: 04/19/18