The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Skeletons In Our Closet …
December 10, 2008, 7:58 am
Filed under: Comment

Alot of people take the piss out of Spam.

cynic even took the piss when we created a campaign that said …


However just like prostitution – there must be alot of people that secretly indulge because not only is it still around, but it’s expanded it’s range.

Just recently I was in a Singaporean supermarket when I passed this array of Spam delectables …

SPAM with cheese???

Hot and spicy SPAM?

SPAM with garlic???

SPAM with 25% less salt??? [labelled as “CRAZY TASTY”, ha!]

Now whilst you could argue the shelves are fully stocked so no one has actually bought any, the fact is that for such a range to be on display, it must be doing pretty well.

And here’s the thing, whilst I know of many people who had it as a kid [me included] – I’ve not met anyone who admits to still buying it.

My point is that we all have guilty little secrets … be it food we like, things we think, ways we behave … however our goal is to keep them absolutely private because we know/assume that others would disapprove or think less of us if those facts got out – which is why companies that places all their faith in focus groups are only kidding themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, feedback and research is vital – but if you think people don’t lie/mislead [voluntarily or involuntarily] then you are setting yourselves up for a fall.

[Blatant sell: come and talk to us about our ‘circumstantial evidence research methodology – designed to separate truth from fiction!]

The failure rate for new products/brands is incredibly high and yet in many cases, they have been rigorously researched to within an inch of their life.

Whilst I know there are many factors that contribute to the success/failure of brands and products – including the fact people’s opinions change, which undermines research studies that go on for years – if focus groups were so accurate then NPD wouldn’t have such a high failure rate.

So next time a client talks about how their decisions have been made based purely on the comments and statements of their focus groups, remind them about the continual success of SPAM because they might just find it’s cheaper to walk away than to spend a fortune trying to attract a bunch of liars, ha!

13 Comments so far
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If your hypothesis were correct Queen CDs would still be popular.

Comment by John

same theory works with the other kind of spam too, methinks. everyone hates it, but people are still falling for it – there must be some reason why people still send it.

ignorance, stupidity and shame – the pilars of consumer behaviour 🙂

Comment by lauren

its Jesuit logic, give me a child for the first 10 years etc – spam on toast, spam right out of the can, instant catapult back to childhood. we are ashamed of it because we think we have evolved, become smart, clever branding people flying around the world, when in fact deep down we are still little kids eating spam sandwiches, made of white bread and marg, in front of the Tv watching record breakers or blue peter, feeling all safe and warm. thats what spam is. thats why its great, thats why we are ashamed. thats why I have a tin hidden behind the gas canister in the cupboard in my kitchen – even my girlfriend can’t know. its licking oxo cubes, eating chicken nuggets, picking your nose (and possibly eating it), marmite on toast (using too much marmite), not eating your greens, drinking out of the carton. No one in a focus group in front of 6 strangers, a moderator and god knows how many people behind an obviously 2 way mirror is going to tell you that stuff. I read a theory, that if you leave a CD in a glove compartment for more than 3 weeks, it metamorphosis’s into ‘the best of queen’. no other explanation makes sense – because no one ever says they bought it.

Comment by Mr McG

Can honestly say I’ve NEVER tried Spam, ever.
And McG, what the hell is wrong with chicken nuggets? I freakin love them!!! hmmmmm, faux chicken…

Comment by Age

nothing wrong with chicken nuggets, balls, sticks, popcorn, drummers, twizzlers, dinosaur shapes, lollies, cutlets, nibbles. My ideal diet would be nothing but stuff you feed kids at an 8 year olds birthday party. AND KFC is proof that there is a God and that he loves us.

Comment by Mr McG

Coming back on the subject, research should inform your thinking, never be your thinking.
The only way to get a decent steer is to talk to people while they’re involved in the subject you’re researching…and the culture around the subject seems to be far more useful.

Pot Noodle based the Slag of all Snacks on guilty pleasures, ex-students secretly wishing they could still be dirty slackers.

Spam toaasties are okay – as long as you use lots of brown sauce

Comment by northern


Comment by EmahTimah

You know when it’s “crazy tasty” that it’s probably “not too bad”

Great post. They do spam like fritters here and these barbecue sausage things that a girl once memorably described as “chock full of rat’s noses” which left a memory whatever the truth of it.

Comment by Charles Frith

one day were all going to find out campbells been dead for 7 months and itll be his fault for writing his fucking stupid blog posts in advance.

and northern what you say about research is fucking bang on but i know as many agencies as i know clients who “massage” for the answer they want but campbells written about that so i dont want to let the fucker look like hes talked sense. for once.

Comment by andy@cynic

If karma exists Andrew, you are in a whole lot of trouble. I will see you tonight if you’re not struck down prior to dinner.

Comment by Lee Hill

itll have to join a long fucking queue if its going to attack me lee

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes it is and I’m 3rd in line after the obvious exes who have a real bone of contention with you.

Comment by Rob

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