Wednesday, March 16, 2011

'The Other White Meat' Finally Cedes Its Place in the Pen The National Pork Board has just hoofed out a new tagline

It’s a little difficult to talk about pigs—we mean the literal ones—as big business, until you consider that pork cranked sales of $97 billion in this country last year and added nearly $35 billion to the GNP. Much of that has to do with dining public’s positive image about pork, which in turn, has a lot to do with a famous tagline—“Pork: The Other White Meat.” The five-word phrase was among the most successful rebranding moves in the history of the food biz.

Well, it looks like the pork folks are finally confident that, after 24 years, Americans have gotten the message because the National Pork Board has just hoofed out a new tagline. From here on out, it’s going to be: “Pork: Be Inspired.”

Yeah, we know. Doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it? (And do we really want to know who finds inspiration in swine?) But after a few minutes on the phone with the Pork Board’s PR guy, the strategy became clearer. Tagline No. 1—a creation of Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, by the way—had basically been about reversing the public’s perception of pork as a slime-loving animal that eats trash and gives you trichinosis. With those myths dispelled, “we’re going toward a new target of people,” the spokesperson said. And who’s that? Home chefs, basically—or at least the 82 million Americans who slap a fresh chop in the pan each week. (As it turns out, that’s 28 percent of our citizenry.)

Time will tell if “Be Inspired” ends up inspiring as many people as the first tagline did. One thing’s certain: Plenty of restaurants and grocery stores fattened up their margins on that little marketing gambit. 

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