November 2, 2004 9:55 AM PST

Spam: 'It's a meat,' Hormel insists

Spiced-ham maker Hormel Foods has announced a massive U.K. advertising campaign, in what may be seen as an attempt to separate its flagship "spam" product name from negative associations with unsolicited e-mail.

For the first time, Hormel will advertise on British television screens next week with a campaign that cost 2 million pounds ($3.7 million), according to a report on the BBC.

The ads will feature an array of "typical" British characters--including builders, campers and pantomime actors--all enjoying spam. According to Hormel figures, the U.K. public consumes around $24.5 million worth of spam each year.

But in recent years, Hormel has become increasingly touchy about the use of the word "spam" to describe one of modern society's worst digital menaces.

Last year, antispam company SpamArrest was sued by Hormel for trademark infringement over its use of the word "spam" in its company name.

At the time, Brian Cartmell, CEO of SpamArrest, said: "Hormel is acting like a corporate crybaby. Dozens of companies use the word 'spam' in their legal and commercial names, and no one confuses any of us with the Hormel canned meat product."

Seattle attorney Derek Newman added: "Spam has become ubiquitous throughout the world to describe unsolicited commercial e-mail. No company can claim trademark rights on a generic term."

Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.

2 comments

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Hormel's Spam does deserve respect
I have to exception to the Spam article. I, as millions of others, do like Spam. It's been around a lot longer then computers, it played a very important role in World War II as well as the Korean War and you're going to lose a lot of respect with those cultures who like pork products (such as Hawaii) for defaming a very popular product. It deserves considerable respect. I can understand why Hormel want's to make sure that the Spam name stays positive and not associated with the plague we all deal with on a daily basis.
Posted by kenrup (2 comments )
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Spam Hornel Sucks Big Time.
11-25-04

Re: No wonder USA Gone To Hell

$4 Millions Advertising Campaign For What To Stop Usen Word Spam,i.e. Literally Millions Homeless, Starving Little Children Could Be Helped With $4 Million Dollars--

Humanity Is Sick!

Mean Mother
Posted by MeanMother (1 comment )
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