Pork: It's versatile, delicious and, when raised in a sustainable, healthy way, an excellent component of any meaty menu. But a new marketing slogan designed to increase pork sales resulted in a backlash yesterday on Twitter and around the blogosphere. "Pork: Be Inspired," a new campaign launched by the National Pork Board, has polarized the food community and sparked a certain amount of social media ridicule along the way.
Nearly 25 years ago, the National Pork Board rolled out the "The Other White Meat" campaign, a response to the then-American impulse to cut down on red meat and cut fat from their diets. Not into chicken? Try pork, the advertisements said.
But yesterday, the National Pork Board rolled out their new slogan, which they said they hoped would serve to get consumers who already love pork buying even more of the meat.
"Our research shows that pork's top consumers are looking for more than basic education; they're looking for inspiration. With its great taste and versatility, pork is the ideal catalyst to inspire great meals," said Ceci Snyder, vice president of domestic marketing for the National Pork Board, in a press release today. "While our new target represents our biggest fans, we believe they have the potential and desire to enjoy pork more often--and to inspire others to do the same."
Shauna James Ahern, who writes the blog Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, also writes, along with her husband, Daniel Fitzgerald Ahern, Pork Knife and Spoon, a Pork Board-sponsored blog that celebrates all things pork-related. On that blog today, she applauded the new slogan.
Most of the time, when Danny and I figure out what to eat, we start with the vegetables in season or grains that entice us. But pork? When we are inspired by pork, it is always the first part of the dish to come into focus ... And pork doesn’t need to be compared to any other meat. It stands on its own.
Ask any chef his or her favorite protein to cook. I’m taking an educated guess that almost all of them would choose pork over that other white meat.
But Emily, of Emily Muddles Through History, Somehow, puzzled over the new branding.
Wow. Your product is cute little piggies! About whom we’ve been hearing, some of us since we were infants, fairy tales about their housebuilding techniques and a even nursery rhyme in which cute little piggies are directly compared to our own toes. This little piggy went “wah, wah, wah” all the way home ... to the dinner table where some wiseguy served him with applesauce!
PETA’s greatest successes come not when they’re badgering people with abstract philosophy about how even lions shouldn’t eat meat, or pulling stunts that look a lot more like assault than peaceful protest, as in the (alleged) throwing of red paint on people wearing fur...
No, PETA’s biggest successes come from anthropomorphizing animals. "This calf only has three feet!” (of space in which to live) and the like. And now the Pork Board, presumably one of PETA’s many nemeses, wants people to be emotionally connected to pigs raised for consumption...
Stephanie Lucianovic of Grub Report sparked a Twitter meme: #rejectedporkboardslogans. The slogans, snarky one and all, could not possibly have been what the Pork Board intended when they launched the campaign.
And over at Grist, Tom Laskawy pointed out that the National Pork Board is funded by the Federal government to boost sales of agricultural products. The slogan, Laskawy said, does not seem to pay any attention to the debate over Confined Animal Feed Operations, or CAFOs, which many food activists decry as unsafe and inhumane ways to raise meat for human consumption.
Why should the federal government be involved in marketing this stuff? Moreover, why should the same agency charged with regulating factory hog farms -- the USDA -- also oversee the effort to sell more of it? While the effort to sell more pork seems to be going swimmingly, the regulating-farm-practices task seems a bit stuck, well, in the mire.
What do you think of the new pork slogan? Does it inspire you to buy more pork? Share your thoughts and comments below.
Photo by dutchb0y, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
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