REDESIGNS: Hormel `spices up’ its Spam

Gifts book features new editorial and products

Austin, MN-based Hormel Foods wants to remind consumers that Spam isn’t just a term for unsolicited e-mail. The producer of the canned meat product has revamped its Spamtastic gifts catalog, adding editorial, spicing up the design, and expanding the product line to appeal to young adults as well as to World War II veterans who remember the food as a staple of their wartime diet.

Hormel unveiled its improved version of the seven-year-old catalog with a November 1999 mailing to 80,000 customers and respondents to Spam promotions, says marketing manager Paulette Cummings. The 28-page catalog includes Spam trivia, photographs of vintage ads, and casual apparel, pens, and assorted doodads emblazoned with the familiar Spam logo in bold yellow uppercase letters.

“We added 55 new items this year,” Cummings says, bringing the number of products offered to about 150. Prices range from 50 cents for a pen to $80 for a neon clock. The most popular products, according to Cummings, are T-shirts, coffee mugs, and boxer shorts. “We’re busy trying to stay in line with what’s popular while developing new product.”

In addition to expanding its product line, Spamtastic is working on increasing its mailing list. Hormel plans to mail the catalog up to three times over the next year to a total of 300,000 names – none of which will be rented. According to Cummings, Spamtastic neither rents lists nor makes its house file available for rent; all prospects are requesters or promotion participants.

Although the company won’t reveal results, Cummings says that the Spam product line is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. “It’s a nostalgic thing. I think people remember Spam from their childhood.” She adds that the company receives numerous letters each week from veterans reminiscing about Spam.

Continuing with the expansion theme, the company plans to open a 16,500-sq.-ft. Hormel/Spam historical museum in Austin’s OakPark Mall this summer, along with a store in Spam’s headquarters.

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