Inspired by pork’s new slogan?


The National Pork Board is dumping its venerable slogan, “Pork: The Other White Meat.” After nearly 25 years, maybe it was time to move on from the widely recognized tagline. It certainly has served the pork industry well, reminding consumers concerned about excessive red meat in their diets to consider pork as at least an occasional alternative. So the smart marketing folks at the NPB naturally chose an equally memorable tagline that builds on the success of “The Other White Meat,” right? Maybe a new, clever dig at red meat while highlighting something great about, you know, pork?

Uh, not so much. With great fanfare the pork folks rolled out, “Pork: Be inspired.” An utterly uninspired theme line that tells you absolutely nothing about what’s great about pork.

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The new slogan has been roundly lampooned, for example here and here.

But seriously, some real thought and focus group research allegedly went into this choice. Here’s the thinking behind the new line: “We want to increase pork sales by 10 percent by 2014. To do that, we needed to make a stronger connection, a more emotional connection to our product,” says Ceci Snyder, the pork board’s VP of marketing.

Now I don’t claim to know pork like Ceci knows pork, but I do know a few things about branding. Just wanting to increase sales by 10 percent won’t make it happen, and trying to connect with an abstract virtue like inspiration doesn’t make the product (or the campaign) emotionally appealing. Or, for that matter, inspiring.

Just like I would never name a cheap economy car the “Aspire” to try to make customers find it aspirational. Oh wait, we did that at Ford, back in the mid ’90s. (I don’t think anybody at Ford is still taking “credit” for that one, so I won’t worry about offending anyone.)

Anyway, the point is take a genuine product attribute, or a feeling in some way connected to the use of the product, to make a strong, perhaps aspirational, emotional connotation–that immediately conjures a positive mental image of the product.

But you should avoid being overly general. For example: ”Your company name here: We’re Innovative!”

- Jon Harmon

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