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"The Other White Meat" Still White, Now With Extra "Inspiring!"

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This past Friday marked the dawn of a new era for swine and the people who love them.

In a move that rocked the pork-eating public to its very core, the National Pork Board replaced its decades-old ad campaign, “Pork: The Other White Meat” with the uplifting call-to-arms, “Pork: Be Inspired.”

The Pork Board released an announcement that read:

“Building on the success of The Other White Meat, which will remain as a heritage brand, Pork® Be inspiredsm communicates to the legion of pork fans that pork is delicious, versatile and can stand on its own – there is no need to rely on comparisons with other meats. Pork: Be inspired is really about celebrating everything that is wonderful and unique about pork.”

Okay, first of all, yes--that really is a(n) ® up there by the word "Pork." Secondly, there's little arguing that "Pork® Be inspiredsm" does communicate to pork fans that pork is delicious, versatile and can stand on its own. Rarely do three little words say so much about inspiration, the act of "being" and, of course, pork. If you really think about it, the phrase conveys nothing less than the sheer versatility, deliciosity, and standing-on-its-ownity of the other white meat, er, pork. Thirdly, does anyone else feel like celebrating the uniqueness of pork right now with, I dunno, a Cuban sandwich or something--which includes turkey, pickles, and ham, one of the most popular forms of the inspiring meat that can not, will not rely on comparisons with other meats.

Now, what is the National Pork Board's objective, here?

"The overall goal is to move sales of our product," said Ceci Snyder, the National Pork Board's vice president of marketing.

Okay, right on, Ceci. Good end game for an advertising initiative. What else?

"We want to increase pork sales by 10% by 2014. To do that, we needed to make a stronger connection, a more emotional connection to our product."

I don't know about you, but I'm not quite sure how much more emotional I can get about pork. If you're like me, this new ad campaign is only going to increase my emotional connection to pork--especially pork shoulder--and could possibly set me up for a big fall one day if pork and I ever begin to grow apart.

But wait--there's more.

Snyder also said, “We want to move that needle, go after that core group of consumers. These people love pork, know how to prepare it and are eager to share recipes."

Marketing is war, dammit! Ceci Snyder, you go after that core group of consumers and DON'T COME BACK TO HQ BEFORE YOU BAG 'EM!" They love pork. They know how to prepare pork. They are eager to share recipes. Let's move this needle, Ceci.

Who is this “core group”? The core group of pork-eaters/lovers/recipe sharers is a collection of folks the Pork Board likes to call “Pork Champions,” which is a term about which I'm not entirely sure how I feel.

Pork magazine (yes, that really is an actual publication) explains:

“Recent consumer segmentation research from the National Pork Board found that 82 million Americans are ‘Pork Champions’ - men and women who are predominantly medium to heavy fresh pork eaters with a strong passion for pork that they are eager to share. This group of ‘flavor-seeking creatives:’

• Represents approximately 28 percent of U.S. households but accounts for roughly 68 percent of all in-home fresh pork consumption and 50 percent of all away-from-home fresh pork consumption.

• Enjoys cooking and experimenting with new flavors in the kitchen, understands how to cook pork, and in general looks at life with a positive outlook. “

Okay, now I know a lot of people who eat a s - - tload of pork, and I would say that, in general, very few of them look at life with a “positive outlook.” But that could very well be a function of the company I keep, not a function of the former “other white meat.”

***SPECIAL TUESDSAY BONUS! A HISTORY OF PORK! (courtesy of the National Pork Board)!***

“The pig dates back 40 million years to fossils which indicate that wild pig-like animals roamed forests and swamps in Europe and Asia. By 4900 B.C. pigs were domesticated in China, and were being raised in Europe by 1500 B.C. On the insistence of Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus took eight pigs on his voyage to Cuba in 1493. But it is Hernando de Soto who could be dubbed "the father of the American pork industry." He landed with America's first 13 pigs at Tampa Bay, Florida in 1539. Native Americans reportedly became very fond of the taste of pork, resulting in some of the worst attacks on the de Soto expedition. By the time of de Soto's death three years later, his pig herd had grown to 700 head, not including the ones his troops had consumed, those that ran away and became wild pigs (and the ancestors of today’s feral pigs or razorbacks), and those given to the Native Americans to keep the peace. The pork industry in America had begun. Pig production spread throughout the new colonies. Hernando Cortez introduced hogs to New Mexico in 1600, and Sir Walter Raleigh brought sows to Jamestown Colony in 1607. Semi-wild pigs conducted such rampages in New York colonists' grain fields that every owned pig 14 inches high had to have a ring in its nose. On Manhattan Island, a long solid wall was constructed on the northern edge of the colony to control roaming herds of pigs. This area is now known as Wall Street. The pig population of Pennsylvania colony numbered in the thousands by 1660. As the seventeenth century closed, the typical farmer owned four or five pigs, supplying salt pork and bacon for his table with surpluses sold as barreled pork. Finishing pigs on Native Americans corn became popular after becoming a common practice in Pennsylvania. After the Revolutionary war, pioneers began heading west and they took their indispensable pigs with them. A wooden crate filled with young pigs was often hung from the axles of prairie schooners. As western herds grew, the need for pork processing facilities became apparent. Packing plants began to spring up in major cities. Pigs were first commercially slaughtered in Cincinnati, which became known as Porkopolis. More pork was packed there than any other place in the mid-west [sic].”
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