Tag Archives: agriculture

the uninspired white meat

The National Pork Board has announced that, starting today, they will abandon their 25 year old tagline for pork, “The Other White Meat”, for a new slogan: “Pork: Be Inspired.”

Their new website, PorkBeInspired.com, has more info on the new tagline as well as videos of Candace Cameron demonstrating different ways to cook pork. Between that and John Stamos being floated as a replacement for Charlie Sheen, we may be in the midst of a Full House renaissance.

But I digress.

In 2000, a study conducted by Northwestern University found “The Other White Meat” slogan to be the fifth most memorable promotional tagline in the history of contemporary advertising. The slogan has achieved the ultimate in brand success. It has established itself in the cultural zeitgeist. Anyone can make a reference to “the other white meat” in conversation or in the media with confidence that it will be understood.

Why just throw all that brand equity away for a shallow forgettable slogan that has no concrete connection to the product?

When the motivational speaker down at the Airport Marriott says “Be Inspired”, will you think about pork chops?

Pork has seen some hard times as of late. Pork sales are not great. The unfortunate intital moniker of the H1N1 virus in 2009 hurt pork consumption. While pork is the most popular meat globally, it comes in third behind beef and chicken in the U.S. So some strong marketing is needed, but why not build on the strengths?

The success of any agricultural commodity branding (Beef, it’s what’s for dinner … The incredible edible egg … Got Milk? … Cotton: The Fabric of our Lives) lies in long term exposure to the fundamental aspects of the commodity. (Subsidies and checkoff fees help too.)

And that’s true for any brand strategy. Build your marketing on the foundations that you’ve already established. Don’t tear everything down and start from scratch unless you want people to forget the old brand. (see BP, Phillip Morris, etc)

Apparently, the pork board does see the value in the “other white meat” slogan. They are regulating it to what they call a “heritage brand” and say will be used in some communications. This is obviously to keep a foot in the intellectual property door and keep the pig rustlers away from it.

So there’s hope. Maybe eventually they’ll be inspired to bring back their best asset.

Wine, cheese, and Tractors

First…a delightful tangent story…..

A few years ago, I boarded a flight in Nashville and found the entire C-level management team of the Tractor Supply Company (TSC) seated around me. Apparently, TSC was being featured in that month’s new issue of the in-flight magazine and this flight was a PR event / celebration.

Before takeoff, I engaged in the typical seatmate conversation with them….told them that my family and I had shopped at our local TSC since I was a little boy…still shopped there for my hobby farm…they asked what I did…etc. As usual with airline seatmates, that was the extent of our relationship.

During the flight, as a part of the PR gig, the stewardess brought out a bottle of wine. The TSC’ers enjoyed that wine with some pricey French cheese (fromage!) and grapes while I enjoyed my packet of peanuts and complimentary in-flight beverage service.

Prior to that flight, I had a brand image of TSC that could be described with bib-overalls, barbed wire and farm animal supplies. Now when I walk into a TSC, I can’t get the thought of wine and cheese out of my head. 99% of the farmers that have known in my life are not in the “wine, cheese, and grapes crowd”. They’re in the “Ski and a Moon Pie crowd”.

(And after 4 paragraphs, my point is….)

The changing face of the market shows that the “wine & cheese crowd” are now the core of the TSC demo. As open farmland is increasing sub-divided, people that now buy “farm stuff” are not full-time farmers. They’re people like me who either hobby-farm or suburb-ites who have a farm-type need.

Steve Hall over at AdRants shines a light on the new ad campaign from TSC. I’ve seen these ads and they freak me out a little. It’s like the Thunderbird puppets went out on the farm. (See the ads here.)

Other than freaky puppets, I think TSC is doing some good marketing. All of their stuff looks really sharp. I absolutely love the “Hatch Show Print look” of the print in both the previous and current ad campaigns.

Just next time, how about sharing that cheese?