Brands, taglines and how the Pork Producers are killing their golden pig

Screen shot 2010-06-12 at 9.37.05 AM At a recent industry event, the National Pork Producers announced that they would be stepping away from their iconic tagline of almost 25 years…the other white meat.  

The association's VP of marketing explained that the tagline wasn't driving sales and that people seem to have forgotten what the tagline means.  (I'd be willing to bet that if you did a man on the street poll — no one has forgotten what it means!)

This is actually not new news…despite all the buzz.  The Pork Producers began to abandon their tagline in 2007 when they tried the completely forgettable "don't be blah" campaign in a effort to step away from their own tagline.  This was the same year that "the other white meat" was listed as #29 of the 100 most influential taglines since 194

The other white meat is one of the most recognizable taglines in the country.  It's recall is the envy of most companies.  It has it's own wikipedia page and website for Pete's sake!  

Most businesses would kill to have that kind of tagline — the Pork Producers did it all right back in 1987 when they hired Bozell to develop the tagline and then until the last few years — they were absolutely consistent in their use for it.

So why would anyone abandon such an institutional asset?  Because they are expecting it to do something it was never designed to do.

Taglines, by themselves, are not designed to drive sales as its primary job.  That's what an advertising campaign is supposed to do.  

A tagline, or brand promise, as we like to call it at McLellan Marketing Group, creates an emotional reaction or connection between the product and the consumer.  It's the one thing that the brand wants to own in the mind of the consumer.  In the case of the Pork Producers — that's why "the other white meat" was so brilliant.

As our friends over at Branding Strategy Insider say:

The ideal benefit to claim in a brand promise has the following three qualities: (1) it is extremely important to the target consumer, (2) the brand’s organization is uniquely suited to delivering it and (3) competitors are not addressing it. 

So — is "the other white meat" not meeting those criteria anymore?  Are people less health conscious about what they eat, red meat etc today?  Nope.  Is pork uniquely suited to being the other white meat?  Yup.  And are any other meat competitors trying to own that space?  No.

If pork sales are stagnant — it's not the tagline's fault.  In the Des Moines Register article, the Pork Producer's representative references the fact that their research shows that people believe pork lacks taste.  Sounds like a problem that an advertising campaign, coupled with some education and sampling, could solve.  Certainly a "it's tasty" is not a unique brand position.

Bottom line for me — they are fixing something that isn't broke.  And in fact, are throwing away a huge organizational asset.  And, worst of all —  it's not going to solve their sales problem.  

Related articles by Zemanta

Enhanced by Zemanta