Published on: March 8, 2005MNB
had a story yesterday about how the National Pork Board has decided to shift the emphasis of its advertising message from the 18-year-old “other white meat” campaign to a new one that will say, “Don’t be blah” and urge people to try new dinnertime alternatives.
The “other white meat” message isn’t being abandoned completely. Whereas the old campaign was “Pork: The Other White Meat,” the new one will say “Pork: The Other White Meat: Don’t Be Blah.”
Our comment: We had a piece last week about how mass market advertising has gotten so uninspired that people have begun saying that the mass market is dead.
And this “don’t be blah” ad seems like the poster child for lack of inspiration.MNB
user Lisa Malmarowski observed:Seems like pork marketing mavens should follow their own advice. This sort of 'advertising' smacks of decision by committee - Don't be too edgy, don't offend, don't be too wacky - I know, be insipid!
user wrote:You are so right! They should focus on the taste and innovative and simple= ways to fix pork. Roosted pork in the oven or grill covered with coriander is a = mouth watering combination. Try it!
And yet another MNB
user wrote:At least they didn't go with "Got Pork?"
How about…“when you really want to pig out…”?
The problem is that the slogan doesn’t make us hungry. Or interested. Or curious.
And it was just last week that we were writing about the deliciously tender pork medallions served with creamy chorizo risotto at Emeril’s Delmonico in Las Vegas…a meal so good that will stay in our mind and heart for a long time.
This slogan reads like it was written by a copywriter who might as well be a vegetarian.
In our story about Publix opening a new Hispanic-themed format, we suggested that this kind of innovation suggests the distance between Publix and Winn-Dixie. But one MNB
user thought that we were being too tough on Winn-Dixie…Winn-Dixie has an extensive line of Hispanic food ingredients in their larger stores, both fresh and packaged from corn husks to Mexican cheeses. Publix has just started adding some basic items. Publix gets all the great press, but WD has a lot going for it. I shop there because their variety is better than Publix, especially store brands. The service is fine, too. The press is helping the demise of WD by printing all of these negative comments. None of the national press shops there nor for that matter does the local press. I have found in my thirty years in the industry that most “expert” comments are spurious. One has to actually shop in a store to determine its merit. It would much better if the press encouraged people to support a great retailer. It may be too late but what is gained by all the criticism?
Fair point. Though we’re not sure that the messenger can be blamed for all of Winn-Dixie’s issues.
We had a piece yesterday referencing a Washington Post
story about how Wal-Mart is finding creative ways to get around local zoning restrictions - in some cases splitting stores in two and building them next to each other so that technically they stay within code, or calling for referendums that would supersede government decisions, or coming up with store plans that live within zoning restrictions (even if just barely).
While some would suggest that fighting Wal-Mart is a futile endeavor, we actually think that Wal-Mart’s Borg-lime, “resistance is futile” demeanor could at some point work against it. “We happen to be a fan of good, old-fashioned moral outrage. It’s good for the soul, even if not always successful.”
And, we offered the following inspiration from Dylan Thomas:"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
user responded:Or how about Continue to bang your head against the wall because it will feel really good when you stop. Listen, polemics against Wal-Mart are going to have little, if any, effect. This attitude of small company good, big company bad‚ sounds like it’s informed more by Hollywood than by reality. As many have pointed out, consumers are making the decision and have been since the early days of Wal-Mart when they were supplanting the local Mom -and-Pops.
Is this a bad thing or a good thing? Should government step in for the “good of the people”? You seem to be reflexively saying yes to both, thinking of yourselves…as champions of the "Little Guy". But guess what? The Little Guy works at Wal-Mart and shops and saves at Wal-Mart. The Little Guy’s shot at the American Dream is enabled by lower prices and a stepping stone to a career in management or as a means of supplementing social security income. Historically, the government has done a fairly poor job of helping the Little Guy by blockading capitalism or raising the minimum wage.
We’ve banged our head against more than a few walls in our time. And while you cast our positions as “little guy vs. big guy,” we actually think of our role in the same way old time journalists did: ‘to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” And size doesn’t matter.
For the record, we would make one point. While it can be fairly said that we are critical of Wal-Mart, we would like to think that we are much, much tougher on its competition…especially when that competition doesn’t do what is necessary to survive. We like to point out that “compete is a verb.”
And in this, as well, size ultimately doesn’t matter.
But if you want to smack us around for being too pro Little Guy, we can live with it.
user wrote:I've been reading that Wal-Mart is supposed to be 15-20% less on groceries than most of the major chains.
Over the weekend, I went to Kroger for something and chanced to see some cheese spread--same brand we had purchased at a Wal-Mart the week before. At Wal-Mart, it was $2.50. At Kroger, $3.99.
I couldn't believe the difference, so double-checked several 8 oz. containers to be sure there wasn't a price-sticker error.
I also found that Kellogg’s All Bran is 80 cents cheaper at Wal-Mart than at Kroger or Meijer.
We used to be dedicated Kroger shoppers but go there very seldom now--and less in the future as we check other prices.MNB
user Thomas D. Murphy wrote:I am sorry, but contrary to the Morning News Beat perspective, I believe that the majority of consumers want a Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, this majority is silent and not as motivated or organized as the aggressive minority who fight Wal-Mart...often led by the competition and unions. I believe that as long as the grocery industry hangs its hat on regulatory control of Wal Mart as any part of their defense...the industry will lose. It is time to wake up and compete in a manner that offers the consumer what they want...differentiation will win...be it price, assortment or service.
We agree, at least about the need to compete and not hang onto the false hope of regulatory intervention.
Not everyone thought we were too tough on Wal-Mart, though.MNB
user Richard L. Gramza wrote:Abraham Lincoln nailed it when he said,
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. “
The folks in Bentonville are just too big for their britches; they have a little too much power with not much oversight. Their real power lies with the citizens who are struggling with make ends meet from one paycheck to the next. These folks don’t really care if their taxes are subsidizing the Wal-Mart store, they just want to provide as much as possible for their families.
And you know what they say about absolute power…
user wrote:I'll see your Dylan Thomas and raise you a Bob Marley:
It's not all that glitters is gold;
Half the story has never been told:
So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your rights. Come on!
Get up, Stand up: Stand up for your rights...
Get up, Stand up: Don't give up the fight!
And finally, another MNB
user sent us an email that was, in the scheme of things, inevitable: You improperly attributed the verse to Dylan Thomas. In actuality, it was Rodney Dangerfield in “Back to School” - at least, that’s how I like to remember it…
We actually got several emails from members of the MNB
community referring to that scene in “Back to School.” And all of them made us smile.
After all, who can ever forget Rodney saying, “Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out. And then bring one every ten minutes.”
Those were the days…