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Spam-maker Hormel Spends to Reclaim Name 201

An anonymous reader writes "Hormel, the company behind Spam (the meat product, not the unsolicited email), is launching an advertising campaign in Europe in an attempt to remind people it has been around a lot longer than offers of generic Viagra and fake Rolex watches. The BBC claims it will cost Hormel £2m."
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Spam-maker Hormel Spends to Reclaim Name

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  • Spamtastic (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:03PM (#10700273)
    I for one welcome our new spiced ham overlords!
  • Heh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:03PM (#10700275)

    Ads for Spam... go figure.

  • by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:04PM (#10700287)
    I don't suppose they're getting the word out via a "direct email" campaign . . .
  • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:05PM (#10700294)
    FWIW, although spam is already cooked, it's vastly improved by frying or barbequeing.

    As an aside, is /. being /.ed today? It sounds silly put like that, but the page loading times seem to be up quite a bit and my attempt to submit this first time got a 503.

    • Yeah, I keep getting error 503 as well. Maybe slashdot has been slashdotted, I mean it was linked to from slashdot in this post []!
    • I like it in the microwave. Throw a few slices in there wrapped in a paper towel, nuke it until it sizzles, then put it on slices of bread with mustard.

    • FWIW, although spam is already cooked, it's vastly improved by frying or barbequeing.

      Lots of technically edible things are "vastly improved" by subjecting them to heat, fat, etc. Rats, for example, are vastly improved if you BBQ them. At least I assume they are... if you are going to spend time perfecting SPAM cooking techniques, you might as well spend a bit of time figuring out how to cook rats too.

      Personally, I prefer to hit the meat counter at Safeway and bring home a nice thick NY strip. They

    • Yeah, but can it provide me with other kinds of "meat" ?!

      The enlarged, grow-able variety to be precise.
    • my recipie (Score:5, Funny)

      by morcheeba ( 260908 ) * on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:56PM (#10700651) Journal
      I take the spam and dice it up in to 1cm cubes. Then I take a cube and slice it as thin as possible. Lay it in the center of a big hamburger bun, and top with lettuce, tomatoes, 1/2 lb barbecued ground beef, onions, and ketchup.

      Makes a great sandwich -- just don't eat the middle.

    • Slice it thin and fry it heavily, and it tastes like bacon. I should check sometime if it's healthier or cheaper than bacon...

      Shred it, along with cheddar cheese and mix with relish and mayo and/or Miriacle Whip, and you've got Spam Salad, which is good for sandwiches. Grocery store delis frequently sell "Ham sandwich spread", which is similar.

      Bake it with a glaze made of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, cinnamon and clove, and you have Baked Spam, which my parents make occasionally. I've co-opted the glaze for ham steaks, but since realized that the Spam has a better texture.
  • by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:05PM (#10700297)
    Perhaps in addition to their TV advertising, they could use other means? I know the internet is a really powerful place. Perhaps by individually contacting Europeans they are able to put their name to good use again. But we need to make sure all Europeans are contacted. I suggest Hormel engages in a direct electronic mail campaign to contact every European. To make sure the message is understood, I suggest the use of ALL CAPITALS.

    That is all.
  • by khrtt ( 701691 ) advertise SPAM? I mean, SPAM as in SPAM, not as in SPAM.. Ah, you know what I mean:-)
  • Hormel, the company behind Spam (the meat product, not the unsolicited email), is launching an advertising campaign in Europe...

    I can see the marketing discussion now:

    Marketer 1: "We need to get the word out about Hormel."
    Marketer 2: "Hey, I know! Why don't we email millions of people and remind them about our product!"
    Marketer 1: "Great idea! I've got some email addresses right here on this CD..."

  • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:07PM (#10700320) Journal
    most people outside of America don't like spam (of either variety). I want babette before I want the tinned spam.
    • Most people in America don't like Hormel SPAM either.
    • Re:In other news (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anita Coney ( 648748 )
      Are you kidding?! Even Americans dislike Spam. The only time I ever see anyone with Spam is when it's bought as a gag/practical joke gift. I guess it may sell in the American South, but they eat scrapple there so it's not saying much.

      The only area on earth where spam is considered a delicacy is in the South Pacific.

    • Camping (Score:3, Informative)

      by jthayden ( 811997 )
      I agree that Spam is lack luster, but it does have one use. It is great while camping. Not because it tastes any better, but because it keeps forever without having to keep it cold. You can be in the backcountry for weeks and still have meat ( I use the term losely ) to eat.
  • by da3dAlus ( 20553 ) <> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:08PM (#10700329) Homepage Journal
    Hormel says "It's a Meat!"
    Maybe they should have a contest to name what animal it came from?
  • "Spam" is the unsolicited bulk email, "SPAM" is the spicy canned meat.
  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:12PM (#10700346)

    The folks at Hormel have asked that people spell the name correctly when referring to their meat product - in all capital letters, i.e. SPAM.

    See their Legal and Copyright Info page [].
  • by fracai ( 796392 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:12PM (#10700347)
    Maybe they'll just play Monty Python a bit more on the BBC
    • Re:spam spam spam (Score:5, Informative)

      by Chris_Mir ( 679740 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:22PM (#10700430)
      well, someone has got to post it ;-)

      Man: You sit here, dear.
      Wife: All right.
      Man: Morning!
      Waitress: Morning!
      Man: Well, what've you got?
      Waitress: Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam;
      Vikings: Spam spam spam spam...
      Waitress: ...spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam...
      Vikings: Spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
      Waitress: ...or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.
      Wife: Have you got anything without spam?
      Waitress: Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it.
      Wife: I don't want ANY spam!
      Man: Why can't she have egg bacon spam and sausage?
      Wife: THAT'S got spam in it!
      Man: Hasn't got as much spam in it as spam egg sausage and spam, has it?
      Vikings: Spam spam spam spam... (Crescendo through next few lines...)
      Wife: Could you do the egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam then?
      Waitress: Urgghh!
      Wife: What do you mean 'Urgghh'? I don't like spam!
      Vikings: Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
      Waitress: Shut up!
      Vikings: Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
      Waitress: Shut up! (Vikings stop) Bloody Vikings! You can't have egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam.
      Wife: I don't like spam!
      Man: Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam spam spam spam spam spam spam beaked beans spam spam spam and spam!
      Vikings: Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
      Waitress: Shut up!! Baked beans are off.
      Man: Well could I have her spam instead of the baked beans then?
      Waitress: You mean spam spam spam spam spam spam... (but it is too late and the Vikings drown her words)
      Vikings: Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam! Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam. Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Spam spam spam spam!
  • by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:14PM (#10700369) Homepage
    I can't imagine anything more vile than the so-called potted meat product that is Spam. It's the multiplicative zero element of food: you add Spam to any other dish and the whole thing tastes like Spam (as opposed to the multiplicative identity element of food, tofu, which when added to any dish takes on the flavor of the whole dish).

    Given that even before Spam took on the unwelcome meaning of unsolicited commercial email that it was more a war-time inexpensive way to get protein into the diet, and that even in such dire times it tasted awful, wouldn't it make sense for Hormel to just drop that product line altogether?

    I realize some Hawaiians might be upset, some fan websites would be put out, but think of the money they'd make selling rare cans of Spam on eBay.
    • On flavors, does this make tofu anti-Spam? Or is Spam anti-tofu? If you put them in the same room and let them fight it out..?

      wouldn't it make sense for Hormel to just drop that product line altogether?

      It seems that people actualy DO BUY Spam. We see it on the grocery shelves. If consumers didn't buy it, The supermarkets would not stock it, as shelfspace is valuable. So if people didnt buy it, I'd wager that the stores would stop buying it too. In that case, Hormel would have to go through direct marke
    • I'm not a Hawaiian and I like spam. I eat it with eggs for breakfast all the time. Thankfully, the world doesn't have to bow down to whatever your food preference is and I'm free to eat whatever I want.
    • --I can't imagine anything more vile than the so-called potted meat product that is Spam. It's the multiplicative zero element of food: you add Spam to any other dish and the whole thing tastes like Spam (as opposed to the multiplicative identity element of food, tofu, which when added to any dish takes on the flavor of the whole dish).--

      You sir, have never heard of SOUSE meat.
    • I realize some Hawaiians might be upset,

      Upset? They'd go INSANE! They sell so much Spam in Hawaii (6.9 million cans a year) that there's actually competition [] in the canned meat trade that Hormel has had to try to counter withSpecial Hawaiian Collector's Edition Spam [].

    • My dear Sir I fear you have a mix up in your pragraph. Tofu is the zero element, actually a negative element. It has texture that makes library paste seem heavenly.
      People don't realize that tofu is a much better fertilizer - its already pre-digested.

      And remember that Old Testiment probverb; If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?!
    • Especially since SPAM is extremely popular in Hawaii and Guam. Just the number of recipes using SPAM from Hawaii is nothing short of mind-boggling.
  • "It's a meat!" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:15PM (#10700376) Homepage Journal
    Actually, Hormel has been pretty cool about this for many years. They have wanted to make it plain all along that lowercase "spam" was acceptable to them as a name for UCE, but uppercase "Spam" was reserved for their trademarked product. I personally think that was a well thought out decision made long ago with much foresight. Many companies made a rough time for themseleves by defending trademarks on the web in the earlier days, but Hormel has never been seen as the bad guy before.

    I wonder if SpamArrest changes their name to spamArrest would Hormel drop their challenge?

    It's a tough spot, though, because they've allowed some "dilution" of their name by not having defended it completely. I can't really blame them for wanting to shed the negative image of being associated with UCE, but I don't know what else they can do except give up their 60 year old name (usuall a really, really bad idea.)

    • Re:"It's a meat!" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by earlytime ( 15364 )
      I agree,

      If the anti-spam companies (espceially the ones with spam in their name) are smart, they'll voulnteer to put a disclaimer or reference to Hormel and SPAM on their websites. Clearly spam is a derivative of SPAM, and eventially Hormel will need to get ugly if the anti-UCE crowd is not active in clarifying that there are two different things called spam, one good and one bad.

      On a side note, I don't like SPAM! but.. I for one welcome our new viking overlords.
    • by xant ( 99438 )
      It's debatable that they've allowed any dilution of their name, in the legally defensible sense. TM's apply to a particular product type. If Hormel let anyone making a meat product call their product "spam" (with any capitalization) that would clearly be dilution. Other food products might also conceivably be called dilution. But software is not food, so while Hormel *can* sue spam software makers for trademark dilution, they probably would not win, and any outcome of that case would probably not affect
      • It only makes sense. I mean, no one with a brain in their head picks up a can of SPAM in the grocery store, goes "ARGH! Unsolicited e-mail!" and throws it on the floor. It's simply not possible to confuse the two or associate them in a meaningful way.
      • Remember the rule of thumb: the existence of Apple Insurance doesn't in any way dilute the trademark of Apple Computers.
        You mean: the existence of Apple Computers doesn't dilute the trademark of Apple Records...
    • Re:"It's a meat!" (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Eil ( 82413 )

      This isn't the first time that a food company has gotten all up-in-arms over the use of one of their trademarks.

      In 2001, Pillsbury sent a cease-and-decist order [] to a numerous number of colleges IT companies detesting their use of the term "bake-off" to mean an event where developers get together to test their latest code and networking protocols.

      Talk about silly. At least SPAM is actually a trademark and was never a commonly-used word well before it became "protected" by corporate interests.
    • I can't really blame them for wanting to shed the negative image of being associated with UCE

      This is corporate group-think at it's worst. The two are entirely different, and it would be impossible to confuse them.

      The term Spam having a wider use can only HELP them sell more product. It's almost an endearing use of the term.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:18PM (#10700403)
    Find the names and addresses of spammers around the world, then deliver tons of tinned meat product to their doorstep - and film the results.

    Put ads out with the reactions of the spammers when they get their spam back, but in the original form. Slogan could be something like "They spammed us, we SPAMMED them".

  • and will they still want us to use all caps?
    Wonder what it'll be made of...
  • Buy a Rolleks, it's cheaper!

    I got 5 for $24.95 only at the Times Square!

    Take your chance, buy now!
  • well, (Score:3, Funny)

    by brarrr ( 99867 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:21PM (#10700425) Journal
    I sure hope I don't get any emails about this.

    A song would be nice though.
  • I don't like spam!

    Bloody vikings!

  • ...send everyone in the world an email about their campaign.
  • Ubiquitous Spam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by krkelly25 ( 814065 )
    "Seattle attorney Derek A Newman added: 'Spam has become ubiquitous throughout the world to describe unsolicited commercial email. No company can claim trademark rights on a generic term.'" Ah, but SPAM has been around since the 1930s...long before Al Gore invented the Internet.
  • This is bound to backfire on the company.

    Till now people who had no knowledge about this company will now assume this is the company that makes Meat AND also sends Spam email....

  • good quote (Score:5, Funny)

    by rhesuspieces00 ( 804354 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:48PM (#10700585) Homepage
    i dont know if its still there, but this is a good quote i came across on the website:

    "Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, "Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?"
    -Hormel Foods
    • Heh, spam is likened to Spam because of the Monty Python song which repeats the word Spam to such a degree that it is annoying, like email spam endlessly filling your inbox.

      But there are other relations too!

      Spam contains all the nasty bits of farm animals that no one else wanted, spam email contains all kinds of nasty bits.

      You don't know the true origin of spam email or Spam meat.

      Everybody says they don't like Spam, but the company still makes it - someone must buy it. No one likes spam, but it keep

    • I've got a better one. Used-to make a nice .sig

      Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev wrote, "Without SPAM we wouldn't have been able to feed our army." le dge.asp?catitemid=16&id=130

      Like the old saying goes: An army marches on it's enlarged genetalia.
  • Sing it with them: ``Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam; Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...''

    Monte Python didn't make it sound good, but they made it sound as if it didn't have anything to do with email.

  • Maybe they should use the $2Mil to filter out the lips and assholes. They could set up a lucrative head-cheese contract with all of the extra "meat".

    To be fair, what ever it is is mighty tasty.
    • Head-cheese \Head"-cheese\, n. A dish made of portions of the head, or head and feet, of swine, cut up fine, seasoned, and pressed into a cheeselike mass. or if you prefer: A jellied loaf or sausage made from chopped and boiled parts of the feet, head, and sometimes the tongue and heart of an animal, usually a hog.
  • Spamfest (Score:5, Informative)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:57PM (#10700657)
    My mother lives in Albert Lea, MN, not far from Austin, MN. Austin is a Hormel town, and every year they have a Spamfest celebrating the stuff. There are parades, music, and free handouts of spam and other goodies. A couple years ago she got a Spam piggy bank.

    It just sounds like Hormel is expanding spamfest to encompass the globe. It's not horrible stuff. It tastes good grilled, fried, diced and mixed with macaroni and cheese..... And it doesn't ask you to click now to unsubscribe.
    • I'm from Rochester, and I frequently drive through Austin on my way to visit my Girlfreind in Ames, IA. In Austin they have the Spam Museum. Driving past it on I-90, it smells like bacon...mmm...bacon... Some of the billboards advertising it read:
      • Like the vatican, only for spam
      • Yes, we answer the ingredients question.
      • Even we don't know what to think.
      There are more, but I can't remember them all. Perhaps someone can fill in?
    • My mother lives in California, and she fed me spam as a child. I still bear the emotional scars. Spamburgers never tasted quite "right" and the way the stuff looks coming out of the can is enough to scare me out of eating anything containing it. I have yet to eat spam and not be able to tell it's spam. If you can manage to cook spam in such a way that I can't tell it's not spam (none of the above mentioned means qualify) then I might consider eating it - until you told me it was spam.
  • Don't they realize that they're already getting an immense amount of free advertising? You can't tell me that UCE is negatively impacting Hormel's bottom line. That's laughable at best. They should keep their money and put it towards advertising new products. SPAM will always be around. UCE isn't going to change that one bit. If it ain't broke, don't spend an arm and a leg trying to fix it.
    • "Any advertising is good advertising" fits this issue. I actually expect that Hormel would benefit from "You may not like spam, but don't be afraid to try SPAM".

      Play with it, don't fight it. There is room for both.
  • This is just another advertising campaign. Hormel isn't trying to get rid of the term spam as applied to email - it would be a hopeless task. They are just advertising their product, SPAM.

    Their lawsuit against SpamArrest is the only time that they've done anything that even looks like they might be trying to get rid of the name. And considering they targetted one of many companies that use the name, I think it's more likely their own version of fighting against email spam. SpamArrest, prior to that la

  • The bottom line is that Hormel is doing this to protect their trademark. Trademark rights can be lost if the trademark holder does not enforce their trademark. This includes defending against trademark infringement (similar marks), and it also includes protecting against trademark dilution. Dilution is when a famous trademark loses its distinctive nature. This problem occurs when a name becomes so ubiquitous that people use it for things other than the products/services the mark is associated with.

    One w

    • There is a difference between trademarks used as a generic name for that class of product (as in Xerox, Kleenex, Google, etc) or names that happen to be trademarks in one product category being used do describe something in an entirely different category.
      Spam is a trademark for a meat product and unsolicited mail, for which the term is often used, has nothing to do with meat.
      Just like Coke is a trademark for a softdrink and a term for a hard-drug.
      The contexts are different and there is no risk of confusion
    • Correct. Hormel doesn't want to loose their trademark for SPAM as Beyer lost theirs for aspirin and heroin.
  • Unintentally the Monty Python troop is to blame for the name. I can't see Hormel holding them responsible but we need to come up with a pithy new name for UBMs. If nothing else we as the techs that started it. Meaning the collective target audience of Slashdot should help with the reclaiming of the name. I propose BMs. Anyone else got a good name that can be printed in the public press?
  • Spam and Spy Planes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eutychus_awakes ( 607787 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @02:07PM (#10701401)
    This reminds me of a story told by Ben Rich, the head of Lockheed's Skunk Works [] during the late 70s through the early 90s. One of the first projects they had under his tenure was to re-open the U2 spy plane assembly line and produce some new, updated versions of the airplane. However, the Air Force didn't want the bad vibe associated with funding new spy plane work (especially from our allies and not-so allies), so they required that the new airplane be called the "TR-1," hopefully shielding themselves from the cloak-and-dagger stigma associated with the old U2. As Ben Rich tells the story, when the press got hold of the news, they immediately took to calling the new airplane the "TR-1 Spy Plane." Nowadays, they don't even bother with the TR-1 part, and just refer to it as the U2 again.

    Poor Hormel. Spam will ALWAYS be Spam, I'm afraid.
  • In response to Hormel's ad campaign, grocery shoppers all over the world decided not to bother spending any money on reminding Hormel that they all thought SPAM [] was nasty crap long before they ever had E-mail addresses.

  • Why don't they just rename their product? "SPAM" really isn't descriptive enough anyway. The new name could evoke the heady boquet and flavor of SPAM. I'd like to be the first to suggest that they rename it to "SPUKE."

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.