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Published March 04, 2011, 11:22 AM

Pork board swaps ‘White Meat’ for ‘Be Inspired’

DES MOINES, Iowa — “The Other White Meat” has another slogan. The National Pork Board on Friday replaced the decades-old ad campaign with a new message: “Pork: Be Inspired.”

By: Michael J. Crumb, Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa — “The Other White Meat” has another slogan.

The National Pork Board on Friday replaced the decades-old ad campaign with a new message: “Pork: Be Inspired.”

Board officials said after nearly 25 years, it was time to move on from the old message that compared pork to chicken and instead try to increase sales by focusing on the estimated 82 million Americans who already eat pork.

“The overall goal is to move sales of our product,” said Ceci Snyder, the Des Moines, Iowa-based board’s vice president of marketing. “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.”

Pork sales totaled about $117 per person in 2010. Pork consumption averages about 50 pounds per person per year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Snyder said research done by the Pork Board shows 28 percent of U.S. households make up nearly 70 percent of the nation’s at-home consumption of fresh pork. The new campaign is aimed at getting existing pork consumers to think more about how they can incorporate it into their meal planning.

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

The new marketing effort marks the end to a ubiquitous advertising slogan launched in 1987 to convince consumers that pork was healthy and had fewer calories than most people thought. The campaign stemmed a decline in pork consumption, Snyder said.

Times have changed and with consumption continuing to be flat, Snyder said it’s time to take pork in a new direction.

Pork remains behind beef and chicken in consumption, according to the USDA. Americans ate about 61 pounds of beef per capita last year and about 80 pounds of chicken. While beef consumption has been gradually declining and pork consumption has remained flat, chicken consumption has increased in the past two decades, the USDA data shows.

More than 31 billion pounds of pork was produced in the U.S. in 2010, according to the Pork Board. Iowa is the nation’s top pork producer followed by North Carolina and Minnesota.

The old slogan will remain on the Pork Board’s website and on apparel sold by the board, but Internet searches for “Pork: The Other White Meat” will direct people to the new campaign, Snyder said.

Gail Carter, a partner at Schafer Condon Carter, the Chicago-based ad agency that helped develop the new campaign, said “Pork: The Other White Meat” succeeded in creating awareness of pork as an option to chicken, and now it’s time to update the message.

“There is no need to rely on comparisons for this audience,” she said. “We know more about who the target is and how to talk to them in more relevant terms.”

The board will spend more than $11 million to roll out the campaign in March and April. It will include national print and broadcast advertising, public relations, social media and foodservice marketing. Online advertising will begin March 7, and national television ads will begin April 11. Print ads will also begin running in food and lifestyle publications in April.

John Mabry, the director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University, said the “Pork: The Other White Meat” campaign helped pork overcome an image that it was fatty and has helped increase the ways in which pork is used.

“I can see them trying to expand on the market,” he said. “We are exporting 25 percent of the product now and we need to maintain the export market but also need to ramp up consumption here in the U.S.”

He said targeting a specific audience may give the Pork Board the “biggest bang for its buck.”

Through the national Pork Checkoff program, pork producers invest 40 cents per $100 value of hogs sold to fund research and promotion of pork.

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