Mmm! It's the great Spam marketing challenge

This month, hungry advertisers pitch for what is possibly the most blighted, image-challenged product, bar the Skoda car: Spam.

It has been a running joke both before and (long) after Monty Python gave us the Spam-and-everything gag in the Seventies and schoolchildren thwacked each other with soggy Spam fritters.

An attempt earlier this year to save Spam's bacon ended on the scrapheap when the American company Hormel Foods launched a sizzling court battle against Spa'am, wild boar star of the film Muppet Treasure Island. Describing the character as "evil in porcine form", Spam's American inventors claimed its association with Britain's apparently finest processed meat threatened to be the final undoing of the wartime staple. The judge did not agree.

Now all those image problems are bound for the waste disposal unit as Spam plans to move away from its current consumers - young mothers and children - and hits on its new target audience: young carnivores.

Over on home turf, where 3.8 cans of Spam are consumed every second, the 90 per cent pork, water-free product has (allegedly) achieved cult status and its product merchandise is now being copied here in the UK, where 10.5 million cans are consumed a year at an average pounds 1.19 for 340g. Baseball caps (pounds 2.95), T-shirts, (pounds 4.90) and jogging shorts (pounds 6.90) bearing the Spam logo are already available.

As the biggest advertising challenge since Marmite was turned macho is launched, we asked culinary experts and punters what they think of this much-maligned national delicacy.

Simon Hopkinson, chef: "Heaven knows what is in it - it becomes a completely different thing when you heat it. I can't think that it would add much to a dish, though I really used to like it as a child. I have fond memories of it being deep fried in batter."

Matthew Harris, chef, Bibendum: "I only remember eating it at school, sitting on a plate with a puddle of grease around it with tinned tomatoes. My Spam days are over."

Emily Green, food critic: "Spam is a food icon. It is one of those wonderful words that has less to do with the processed meat itself and has acquired a cultural meaning of its own. As for the meat, I really don't know what it is, except that it is really nasty. I think it is pork with lots of salty water and slimy sluice."

Dell Gibbons, dietician, Slimming magazine: "In moderation, it won't do any harm. Canned ham is not particularly high in calories. Eaten in a sandwich with low-fat spread and lots of salad, it could be part of a healthy, calorie-controlled diet."

Esme Johnson, 24, fan: "There are few things nicer than a Spam fritter, though I wouldn't go out of my way for cold Spam. Aah! Spam fritters and chips! If someone gave me one now I'd be delighted. Nothing made me happier when I was a child."

Peter Jameson, 42, turncoat: "At school we had Spam served up as cold meat made hot. The next day it was hot meat made cold. I wouldn't eat it now. I'd prefer corned beef. Spam is such an industrial product. It's junk."

Marie Sampson, 60, former addict: "It was part of the wartime diet. It was quite delicious and moist. I was actually called Spam-face because I would eat three or four slices walking from one shop to the next. It was such a treat. I must admit I don't buy it today."

Rob Lucas, marketing manager, Newforge Foods: "It is about time we killed the Spam joke. We often have Spam at monthly management meetings. We have it on pizzas, in sandwiches or on cocktail sticks with onion and pineapple. It always goes down very well. In a way you could say it is a delicacy."

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

    £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: EWI / IWI Installer

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'