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

What We Can All Learn From Spam …
June 25, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Hello – how are you all?


Time to put a stop to that then eh – and I know the best way how.

Re-start this blog.

What’s that?

“How was my holiday?”

No, didn’t think you’d ask … bastards … so for that, here is a post about SPAM.

I think Spam is amazing.

Sure they’re a load of other brands that get all the accolades, hype and media praise – but few have achieved anywhere near what Spam has.

Now I know what you’re thinking, Spam’s success is testimony to marketings ability to convince people to buy what they don’t need.


The reality is there are very, very few ways to get people to do stuff they don’t want … Spam’s success is by giving a certain section of society, exactly what they need.

Spam’s origins are linked to a past time, 1937 to be exact.

It achieved it’s first real wave of success when World War 2 broke out.

With a scarcity of fresh meat, their ‘spiced ham in a can’ helped fill a much needed void and found its way into the mouths of people all around the World.

While it’s popularity has gone in waves – often linked to the economic situation at the time – it has succeeded where many better known, better distributed brands have failed … selling it’s SEVEN BILLIONTH CAN in 2007.


Well while the industry likes to promote the latest fads and gimmicks, Spam have focused on getting the basics right.

1. They’ve stayed true to who they are, what they do and who they do it for.

2. They’ve innovated their flavours to coincide with changing tastes – whether that is in local markets or foreign.

3. They’ve not taken themselves too seriously

… which given the shit they have faced with [i] Monty Python’s ‘Spamalot’ play – which they sponsored in some markets – and [ii] their name being associated with unwanted email correspondence – is as important as it is impressive.

In essence, that’s it.

There’s no digital cans or crowd-sourced ad campaigns.

There’s no multi-million dollar Superbowl spot or designer edition artwork.

It’s just good, meaningful marketing, executed simply, clearly and effectively.

For some, Spam probably represents mediocrity … the lowest of the lowest common denominator, low-rent marketing.

They’re wrong.

Not just because they don’t fail to understand who Spam relate to – which, I should add, is not necessarily people on a budget – not just because I could argue mediocrity is doing something simply because ‘everyone else is doing it’, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong … but because great marketing is when you make and take decisions that make a fundamental difference to the brands short and long term success, something I would argue, Spam have done far more effectively than many others out there, especially when you take into account the many hurdles they’ve had to face.

Spam might not be sexy or cool, but we can learn a hell of a lot more about how to be smart than most of the brands that get all the attention.

35 Comments so far
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England lose and you start blogging again. Coincidence?

Comment by DH

as fucking obvious as john fucking holmes with an erection.

Comment by andy@cynic

and apart from the first 10 minutes, ive seen planners more effective than the england team. ok i havent, but you get what i mean or youre a thick fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

England were absolutely shit. But thankfully, being half Italian means I was still happy with the result.

Spoken like a true Italian there eh! [Sorry Mum]

Comment by Rob

You do realise you’ve written about spam?

Comment by DH

No wonder they didn’t like our “like ham but cheaper” line.

Comment by DH

proof honesty is not the best fucking policy.

Comment by andy@cynic

You should have known that from divorce #1 Andy.

Comment by Rob

so youre back. how much shit did you buy? how many documentaries did you have to cram in your oh so fucking sensible luggage. wouldnt matter when you have blackmail photos on any fucker at virgin atlantic that can provide you with freebie bastard benefits. cock.

Comment by andy@cynic

42. I bought 42.

Though not all documentaries – I found that one of them was season 1 & 2 of Steven Seagal’s “reality TV show” about being a local cop or something.

Even I am embarrassed about that.

Comment by Rob

for slagging off 90% of the shit cannes wet their collective fucking panties over, ill let you off for writing such a long, planner wank post about fucking spam.

Comment by andy@cynic

talking of cannes, have you seen the sort of shit thats been awarded this year? some is fair efuckingnough, some makes the whole fucking industry as out of touch with reality as a member of the fucking kardashian clan.

Comment by andy@cynic

while you were on holiday #327, i wrote a comment saying i was bored without your daily blog shit. groper said id regret that moment of insanity. after reading this, groper was right.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m always right. Unless I’m talking to Mrs Groper

Comment by northern

Always right? I think the dictionary would have something to say about that in relation to your spelling.

Comment by Rob

I said right, not meticulous. But I can be extremely pedantic when I want. As it happens, there’s nothing I like better than upsetting research agenies with what their own raw data is actually telling them, but that just goes to show I’m petty I suppose.

Comment by northern

That’s not petty, that’s justice and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Comment by Rob

fucking wimp. no woman tells me what to do, not unless the missus or baby beautiful tell me they can.

Comment by andy@cynic

talking of insanity, i like the 3 reasons you say spam arent as fucked us as people think they are, which means im more fucked up than i thought i was.

must have been affected by englands fucking shit performance at euro. and the world cup. and the euro before that etc fucking etc.

Comment by andy@cynic

Welcome back Rob, great post to come back to. Made me think about Spam in a positive way for possibly the first time in my life.

Comment by Pete

And you once said you cant polish shit.

Comment by Billy Whizz

That was only in relation to your ads Billy.

Comment by Rob

Account planning at its best.

Comment by Carol

Interesting. I bet if you’d have said in the 60’s that Spam would still be around 50 years later people would have laughed!

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

Especially compared to so many other brands out there that were once deemed as ‘untouchable’.

Yahoo anyone?

Comment by Rob

Kodak will be all but gone, Rolls Royce will be owned by Americans, MG will be owned by the Chinese but Spam will be going strong…!

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

I like this post very much. Brand hubris is probably THE most dangerous cancer in marketing and agency land..apart from Media Arts that is, which is actually a symptom come to think of it

Comment by northern

A symptom that has developed into it’s own evil illness.

Comment by Rob

you like this shit? you held out well for a northern planning groper but you still fucking wimped out in the end. am i the strongest fucking man out there? i do believe i fucking am. my backbone isnt made of straw, its made of fucking hard bastard steel, hammered into shape by 2 parasite exes and their thieving bastard divorce lawyers.

Comment by andy@cynic

This from the man so bored he implored Rob to come back, Mr Paper Tiger

Comment by northern

Northern when riled is like the Incredible Hulk of adland. It’s bloody brilliant.

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

i made a fucking mistake. cant someone make a fucking mistake anymore?

it was a pretty fucking big and fucked up mistake i grant you.

Comment by andy@cynic

It your fuck ups aren’t big, then how can you expect your successes to be…?

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

I’ve just had a spam sandwich. It was awful.

Comment by DH

thats because you cant fucking cook for shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

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