Archive for Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cold or hot, Spam hits the spot

September 3, 2009

I can remember a high profile advertisement back in 1937 when there was a contest to help name a new product made from chopped pork shoulder and ham mixture that required no refrigeration. The product was produced by Hormel and the prize was $100 to give it a name. The winning entry name was Spam and the man that named it was Kenneth Daigneau, who was an actor and a brother of the Hormel vice president. This took place at a New Year's Eve party.

During World War II, Spam sales boomed  because it required no refrigeration. It was perfect for the military and became the standard K-ration for U.S. soldiers. It was introduced in the Hawaiian Islands and to this day is one of their favorites. Spam Musubi is still a popular snack in Hawaii. In 1937 they even had a Spam Jingle which was possibly one of the first singing commercials. The tune was to the chorus of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. Hormel sponsored the George Burns and Gracie Allen network radio show, which included Spammy the Pig. One of the advertisements proclaimed “If you want something grand/ ask for Spam."

During the war, beef was rationed, so Spam became the prime staple in American meals.

During the late 1940’s and 50’s Nikita Kruschev credited Spam with the survival of the Russian Army in World War II.

The Hormel Girls Performing Troup advertised Spam as they toured the country. They distributed it door to door and they even had a weekly radio show. The ad proclaimed, “Cold or Hot, Spam Hits the Spot." The troop of 65 Hormel Girls crisscrossed the country in a fleet of white Chevrolets. In 1960 Hormel began to sell a 7 oz can along with the 12 oz can. Variations in the 1980s included Smoke Flavored Spam and lower salt/sodium Spam. In the 1990s Spam Breakfast Strips were introduced as was Spam lite.

Hormel has no objection with the usage of the word spam on e-mails. Anything referring to the canned meat product, Spam, must be used with a capital "S." Spam is still a favorite at our house and we usually have some on hand for a quick lunch.

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