the uninspired white meat

The National Pork Board has announced that, starting today, they will abandon their 25 year old tagline for pork, “The Other White Meat”, for a new slogan: “Pork: Be Inspired.”

Their new website, PorkBeInspired.com, has more info on the new tagline as well as videos of Candace Cameron demonstrating different ways to cook pork. Between that and John Stamos being floated as a replacement for Charlie Sheen, we may be in the midst of a Full House renaissance.

But I digress.

In 2000, a study conducted by Northwestern University found “The Other White Meat” slogan to be the fifth most memorable promotional tagline in the history of contemporary advertising. The slogan has achieved the ultimate in brand success. It has established itself in the cultural zeitgeist. Anyone can make a reference to “the other white meat” in conversation or in the media with confidence that it will be understood.

Why just throw all that brand equity away for a shallow forgettable slogan that has no concrete connection to the product?

When the motivational speaker down at the Airport Marriott says “Be Inspired”, will you think about pork chops?

Pork has seen some hard times as of late. Pork sales are not great. The unfortunate intital moniker of the H1N1 virus in 2009 hurt pork consumption. While pork is the most popular meat globally, it comes in third behind beef and chicken in the U.S. So some strong marketing is needed, but why not build on the strengths?

The success of any agricultural commodity branding (Beef, it’s what’s for dinner … The incredible edible egg … Got Milk? … Cotton: The Fabric of our Lives) lies in long term exposure to the fundamental aspects of the commodity. (Subsidies and checkoff fees help too.)

And that’s true for any brand strategy. Build your marketing on the foundations that you’ve already established. Don’t tear everything down and start from scratch unless you want people to forget the old brand. (see BP, Phillip Morris, etc)

Apparently, the pork board does see the value in the “other white meat” slogan. They are regulating it to what they call a “heritage brand” and say will be used in some communications. This is obviously to keep a foot in the intellectual property door and keep the pig rustlers away from it.

So there’s hope. Maybe eventually they’ll be inspired to bring back their best asset.

Chris Houchens is a marketing raconteur & writer. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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2 comments on “the uninspired white meat
  1. I’m a bacon Jew. I was raised on a farm in New Jersey with a BLT firmly in my hand. It’s not that I was even denied pork, far from. I still buy my pork at Hoeffners in Morristown, NJ and write about pig as well for NJ Monthly and many other magazines.

    I think the new phrase for Pork really sucks and here’s why. As a food writer I am called upon to make people hungry through my writing. The new phrase is as lackluster as licking dried paste. It has no zing. It doesn’t take me from the stove to the plate, nor does it make me ever want to eat pork or savor the nuggets of fat in the belly. No, it’s dry. The phrase has no soul. I can’t drink Bourbon with it, I’m not even hungry for some chittlins.
    There is something humorous though. On Facebook, I’m friends with a gentleman who uses the tagline of The Versatile White Meat. Doesn’t this say it all?
    Cheers.
    Warren Bobrow
    @warrenbobrow1 Twitter

    • Thanks for the great comment, Warren. I agree completely. The new phrase is dry and has no legs. I think they’ll soon either need a new line or will go back to other white meat.