Mmm! It's the great Spam marketing challenge
Tuesday 17 October 1995
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."
Life & Style blogs
WWE 2K15 gameplay trailer: First look at Sting, Triple H and Daniel Bryan in next-gen graphics
iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
First day of Autumn: Google Doodle celebrates 2014 Autumn equinox
What are your fingerprint words?
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 What are your fingerprint words?
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...