Campaign: Consumer - Spam refreshes image around first TV ads

Campaign: Spam - Up for the taste of it

Client: Spam

PR team: Nexus Communications

Timescale: October-November 2004

Budget: Under £10,000

In its 63-year history, Spam had never advertised on TV but decided on a change of direction last November. To get the most out of the ads, the client wanted a PR presence to generate the most coverage possible. Objectives

To create a buzz prior to, and around the launch of, the TV ads on 7 November 2004. To communicate key messages to the trade and consumer press.

Strategy and Plan

Nexus Communications approached The Grocer with an exclusive, focusing on the fact that Spam was running its first advertising campaign, worth £2m. The story was delivered via a face-to-face briefing with a trusted contact. Press officers then sent releases to the national and regional press.

Primarily the campaign targeted women between the ages of 45 and 54, a slightly younger age group than Spam's traditional over-55 consumer.

Campaign messages included the fact that Spam was a great British brand embarking on its first series of television ads, which featured ordinary people, not actors.

The main obstacle the team had to overcome was Spam's link to Monty Python (it was cited in a famous sketch in the comedy show). The team endeavoured to update brand associations by compiling a list of 'quirky facts' about Spam's consumption worldwide.

This prompted features on the history of the food, but the most popular angle was the TV ad. Regional news hooks were created around the local people starring in the ads.

Measurement and Evaluation

Most national newspapers, including the Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Sunday Telegraph picked up the story, with double-page spreads in The Independent and The Guardian.

BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Radio Two also covered the TV ads. Regional coverage included pieces in the Blackpool Gazette and the Eastern Daily Press. TV show Have I Got News for You referenced the story and mentioned the Spam brand 22 times.


The campaign garnered 47 pieces of editorial coverage, with 42 million opportunities to see measured in one week. On average, each article contained three brand messages.

Sean McAllister, then Focus On features editor at The Grocer, says: 'The way Nexus delivered the story was perfect - The Grocer was offered a one-to-one briefing and that meant we were able to break the story.

'The national press then picked up the news and added their own perspective. It was a genuinely good story, but the agency's approach definitely maximised its impact.'

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