SPAM spam: Hormel's email campaign to win back millennials

SPAM got us through the Great Depression. And it'll get you through your own little great depression, too.

SPAM got us through the Great Depression. And it'll get you through your own little great depression, too.

I was finally getting around to cleaning out my inbox when I noticed a series of emails from an unfamiliar sender. I learned the good people of Hormel Foods, headquartered in Austin, Minnesota, spent the better part of 2015 trying to reach me. My stomach, anyway.

Social media is a tough sell on flame-war-weary kids who've seen it all, and retweeted it. It is better, Hormel knows, to be aggressive, persistent, and personal. Welcome to the marketing campaign of the future:

From: Kimberlynn Fischer, Hormel Foods

Mike Mullen

Subject: Hammy holidays!


March 7, 2015

Dear Valued Customer,

Hello! My name is Kimberlynn Fischer. I'm the Director of New or Recently Renamed Product Development at Hormel Foods. As you know, Easter is just around the corner. Traditionally, millions of Americans have celebrated the Christian holidays by roasting one of our enormous Hormel hams.

Jesus spoke of people as being "salt of the earth," and then cured Christians of their sins. We at Hormel have, in turn, salted the hell out of our ham and cured it using our patented Cure 81® recipe, modeled on a survey of 1,000 women back in 1963. That's why we make liberal use of potassium lactate and sodium erythorbate, just like the ham you remember from your mother, the stay-at-home chemist.

Whether you're celebrating an immaculate birth or a miraculous return, make this year a memorable one with a Hormel ham.

Kimberlynn Fischer, Hormel Foods

To: Mike Mullen

Subject: SPAM is "Cool for the summer"

July 1, 2015

Hey bro,

It's your girl, Kimberlynn, checkin' back in as we roll up on the summer months like they're a hot new club and we're friends in a sweet new hybrid. I didn't hear back last time, so I thought I'd hit ya' up with a more targeted message now that I've learned more about you. (Big ups to Google, Facebook, and Amazon!) Here are four reasons you — a white, barely employed millennial — will be eating Hormel products this summer:

1. Cultural understanding

Mike, people like you are 62 percent more interested in seeming hip to other cultures and 77 percent more afraid of looking racist than the average U.S. consumer. SPAM® is hugely popular in Hawaii, South Korea, and Puerto Rico. Maybe you'd like to colonize those countries with a bruised kale salad? Feel guilty now? Good. Eat up.

2. Irony

Your age bracket will fake interest in all kinds of crap just to be edgy. You drink PBR and hold parties to watch the worst movies ever put to film. Awful stuff is cool! Somehow! And nothing could be worse, and therefore cooler, than our Dinty Moore® beef stew.

3. It's cheap

Millenials entered the economy in the depths of the recession, so you know the tradeoff of quarters for calories. It's when times are tight that our low-cost, high-calorie products really shine. Some even glow in the dark if your power's turned off!

4. Weird diets

A high-protein, high-fat diet leaves eaters feeling fuller — queasy, even — and therefore less likely to snack between meals. Try our Hormel Black Label® bacon, which makes a perfect side dish to our Hormel Always Tender® pork loin.

From: Kimberlynn Fischer, Hormel Foods

To: Mike Mullen

Subject: Go to Horm-hell

November 19, 2015

Hey you dick.

You think you're so much better than me, don't you? I write and I write. You don't reply, and you sure as hell don't change your eating patterns. My boss says people like you are a "lost cause."

Know what I think is a lost cause? America. You think you're too good for food that was stuffed in a can before your mother was born and will still be on shelves long after you're gone. Well you're not.

SPAM got us through the Great Depression. And it got me through a little great depression of my own this last weekend. Mmmm. SPAM.

What's that? Have I been drinking at my desk? Maybe, yeah. Maybe a little. But only because I found a nice merlot that pairs perfectly with Hormel Pepperoni Minis.

As for you, Mr. Hipster, might I recommend you choke on some of the Skippy Peanut Butter we recalled last month because it had scraps of metal in it. Think of it as extra-extra-chunky. Jerkface.

I just made myself laugh so hard I started crying. That must be why my mascara is running.

I should've listened to my mom and just married Rick.

Oh, Mike. I just want you to be happy. Please write me back.

From: Kimberlynn Fischer

To: Mike Mullen

Subject: Wall Street Journal: Hormel Gives Strong Outlook as Earnings Beat Estimates

November 24, 2015

Suck it, kid. Turns out no amount of information will turn some people off the food they like. You millennials enjoy your rare ancient grains and eggs you raised in your backyard from chickens that only eat even rarer, even more ancient grains.

You see, Mike, something came to me this morning, sometime in between my third and fourth slices of bacon. Your whole generation really is allergic — to joy. Go ahead, skip SPAM if it hurts your tummy. The only thing that makes me sick is people like you.