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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Arts and Entertainment
music

News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
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

    IT Security Advisor – Permanent – Surrey - £60k-£70k

    £60000 - £70000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    MI Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – £25k-£35k

    £25000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    English Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job ? This is a new post...

    Primary General Cover Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Southampton: We are looking for Primary School ...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album