Bout drove my car off Interstate-35 the other day. Frightening stuff.
Only a handful of things can cause you to flirt with the ditches. Ice, snow, blown tires, talk radio, deer, raccoons, and walruses all come to mind.
Outrageous roadside spectacles, such as naked hitchhikers and radical signage, are also possibilities. And it was the latter that got the best of me on Sunday.
Beware of Radical Signs
Sometimes it’s what’s NOT there that makes a sign radical. If a road sign declared the speed limit to be “55 ph” you’d obviously be quite taken aback, thinking to yourself, “Well, is it 55 miles or kilometers per hour? Because the difference can be rather considerable.”
It was a sign with a similarly radical omission that nearly sent me hurdling down the roadside embankment near the Hickman exit.
Radical Signs at 50 kilometers per hour
I was headed north on I-35, doing about 50 kilometers per hour when it happened. As I floated past the Iowa Pork Producers headquarters, I looked for the sign that so proudly states the familiar slogan that for so long has served pork so well.
That slogan, of course, is The Other White Meat.
Ah, yes…I’ve always approved of that slogan. As a lover of food, it ignites in me a ravenous hunger for pork chops and pork loins and other tasty pork dishes. As a student of advertising, it reassures me that simple and straightforward is the formula for success.
So you can understand the severe shock that befell me when seeing that familiar sign with the familiar slogan had been replaced by a NEW sign and a NEW slogan.
That slogan, of course, is Pork: Be Inspired.
Stagnant Sales = New Slogan
Turns out The National Pork Board decided last summer that The Other White Meat just doesn’t bring home the bacon anymore. Pork sales are stagnant so a new slogan was implemented earlier this month to generate some oink.
In 2010, Americans consumed an average of $117 or 50 pounds of pork. And that just won’t do. Not when they’re eating 61 pounds of beef and 80 pounds of chicken annually!
So they slaughtered old faithful in hopes of inspiring us to consume more pork. Which is fine so long as the new campaign is better. And if not better – then at least just as good. Or at least kind of good. That is to say it’s simple and straightforward.
This Slogan Isn’t Simple and Straightforward
Pork: Be Inspired. Ok, it’s simple. I’ll give ‘em that.
What’s absent is creativity. Now, I’m not the kind of guy who needs ultra clever. No, if only a fraction of consumers understand your ads, you’ve failed miserably. Unless it’s an ad for MENSA.
But at least strive to produce something original. Furthermore, promote what makes your products or services unique. Lastly, make sure the promises or calls to action actually make sense.
- Be Original – A campaign must say something that has never been said before. Or it must say the familiar in a new way. Be Inspired has been said in that exact same way millions of times.
- Distinguish Your Products or Services – Buick: Be Inspired. Merrill Lynch: Be Inspired. Ted’s Toilets for Toddlers: Be Inspired. Terry’s Tombstones: Be Inspired.
- Make Sense – What should consumers be inspired to do here? Buy more pork? Eat more pork? Try new recipes? Are we to be inspired by pork to do good in the community? Donate blood? Save a walrus from oncoming traffic?
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Pork has so many marketable qualities – none of which has anything to do with inspiration but everything to do with being delicious. No matter how you prepare it, pork is enjoyable to cook and even more enjoyable to eat. It’s a feel good food.
Thus, why not have some fun. Something like Lick Your Chops. I’m seeing online, TV and print spots of ordinary people – from kids to grandparents to celebrities – with smiling eyes as they lick delicious pork chops. That’ll generate some oink.
Or, what about emphasizing the versatility of pork as an ingredient. Something like Now available for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
Or, staying with the variety of flavors theme and playing off the old slogan, use something like How Do You Color Pork? and showcase regular people cooking different pork recipes that are vibrant colors like orange, yellow, red…Because pork IS the other white meat, but only Plain Janes actually eat it that way.
What do you think? Like the new slogan? Loathe the new slogan? Have suggestions of your own? Still thinking The Other White Meat is everything a slogan should be? Still trying to remember the last time you saw a walrus near the Hickman exit on I-35?