Monday, June 14, 2010

Dans le cochon, tout est bon

"Quel con lui, un gros cochon.  Il a une tête d'échangiste, lui."
        - L, watching the Belgian election coverage last night, and reminding me of this:

This past week I read an article discussing how the US Pork industry was looking to update it's image.  Specifically, it discussed how the US National Pork Board was looking at moving away from the slogan they've been using since 1987: "The Other White Meat."

While the article contained arguments for and against the Pork Board moving away from this highly recognized phrase, I for one would like to applaud the bravery of the Pork Board in making this move.  The people of Pork believe that though the old tagline managed to convince Americans that pork was not a fatty meat, and thereby increase the average person's consumption of pork to 50 pounds per year, that they can do better.  Chicken consumption has gone up from 55 pounds per person per year in 1988 to more than 83 pounds per person per year, after all, so why can't pork?

Having worked at various points of my life in the fields of advertising design and advertising research, this decision to rock the "other white meat" boat interests me.  One one hand, "The other white meat" brand association is solid.  On the other hand, this doesn't mean that it's good.

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"The other white meat" is not a stunning phrase at all is it?  It never was.  It was rather frank, and evidently it did the trick convincing Americans that pork was healthier than they thought, but it doesn't get you excited, or even thinking really positive things about pork, does it?  It has been satirized at length (just do an image search on google for "the other white meat"), and isn't a brand association that elevates the product in the mind of the consumer.  It's a little like "Pork, the less expensive, pig-tasting chicken alternative" isn't it?  And there is that whole creepy reference to "the other".  Does that make anyone else feel a little strange?  Of course "the other" is meant to imply foul, without directly mentioning it.  In the end this comparison doesn't help the Pork Board if they are looking to elevate pork consumption levels to rival those of chicken.  To do this, The Pork Board has to figure out a way to make their product shine all on it's own.  Here is where I believe the Pork board could take a lesson from the French...

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"Tout est bon dans le cochon!"  Almost every French-speaker knows this phrase, and will proclaim it jovially.  It means "everything in the pig is good."  Isn't this an encouraging and enthusiastic little ditty?  And it rhymes!  This is a great pig-seller, Pork Board.  Are you paying attention?  I recommend you stop worrying so much about how exactly you want people to see pork, and just tell people that it's generally "good."  If you can make a catchy English phrase that doesn't imply anything other than the innocuous "goodness" of pork, great.  If it rhymes, even better.  The more people say it, the more they'll beleive it, and before you know it you'll be at your 83 pounds per person.

You see, Pork Board, it doesn't even matter to the French whether pork is healthy, or white meat or any of that, the point here is that it's good.  They have even figured out ways to prepare pig-parts we wouldn't think of touching, some are considered delicacies.  With some really clever marketing, you might even be able to turn North Americans into knuckle-sucking, ear and tail nibblers.  You just need to start somewhere Pork Board, and completely free of charge I'm going to offer you a little insight.  I recommend bacon.  True, bacon is not white meat.  It is not the healthiest.  But guess what?  People love it anyways!

Look, there are cultural outpourings of love for bacon just waiting to be tapped, guided.  How much extra are most North Americans willing to pay just to have a little bacon on their burgers?  How many people openly admit that they like bacon, and will not give it up, even though they know it is not healthy?  How many people declare themselves fans of bacon on Facebook and other social media?  Bacon love is everywhere you look, and everyone but you, Pork Board, is cashing in on it!  There are bacon-shaped zipper-pulls on backpacks, bacon-watches, bacon tattoos, bacon scented car-air-fresheners, bacon panties, bacon jewellery, bacon flavoured condoms, bacon stuffed toys, multiple websites where fans of bacon congregate, bacon ice cream, and let us not forget, chocolate covered bacon.

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People are willing to try anything that has anything to do with bacon.  The point I'm trying to make here is that *this* is your ideal entry point into fostering a general cultural embrace of the pig, without needing to compare it to anything else.  Bacon has been embraced by North Americans in it's own right.  Even if they might feel a little guilty about it, we can see with the air fresheners, social media declarations, zipper-pulls and chocolate coatings, that people just want to feel good about their pig-products.  You can harness this love, give it a little institutional backing, foster it.  With a little bit of thought you can turn the rabid bacon lovers to your work, and they will go preaching their love for pig products, converting the masses using your slogan on their banners.  It could be the dawn of your pork loving utopic society.

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Go on, Pork Board.  It's not that hard.  And hey, pork rhymes with fork... there has to be something to that.

1 comment:

griffin said...

I heard that saying in France last month and haven't been able to get it out of my head! Must be working -- I ordered a ham sandwich today!