SPAM – Clever Branding Transforms Canned Meat

For 83 years canned chopped pork shoulder meat with ham has stood the test of time. More than eight billion cans of SPAM have been sold since the Hormel Corporation introduced the canned meat product in 1937.

Brand loyalty, packaging and ads targeted towards housewives in the 1940’s who wanted cheap, quick meals requiring almost no prep succeeded in making SPAM a household product in the Untied States.

During World War ll SPAM was introduced to the world and became a staple to feed troops inexpensively. Hormel’s figures put the number at 100 million pounds of Spam sent abroad to both American and Allied soldiers.

SPAM is not the most sexy product. Pop open a can of the gelatinous product and the visual isn’t appetizing. However, the branding of SPAM is genius.

From naming and recipe contests, SPAM festivals, Minnesota’s Spam Museum, Skits and more, Spam is a memorable product.

The SPAM Website, Now and Then

Before the web, SPAM did a lot of creative advertising in print. One of the first print ads in 1937 announced; “Spam hits the spot!” With a shelf life of between two and five years, SPAM required no refrigeration and was encouraged as a main course.

Over the last 83 years SPAM has evolved with a lot of creative and fun advertising. After the launch of the World Wide Web in 1991, SPAM expanded their presence and in 1997 their website was first crawled by search engines.

Looking back over the last 22 years the SPAM website has seen it’s share of brand changes. Interesting to note that for over 7 years SPAM had a preference for dark purple. The heavy background color with light copy is a throwback to early website design.

The graphic I created below represents a series of snapshots of the actual SPAM website going back in time to the present. The evolution of the SPAM brand online transforms from a rudimentary structure and design (limited by the lack of technologies and CSS development) to a sophisticated (yet still colorful and fun) website that engages people through visuals, stories, recipes, social media, brand loyalty and easy access via multiple devices.

The latest website speaks to the multiple audiences. The faithful fans, SPAM recipe seekers, people wanting to know what is in SPAM (which is proudly displayed and those like myself, SPAM curious.

Having never tried SPAM, and now more curious after researching for this post, I might just give it a try…

SPAM website designs over the years

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