If you’re inviting Sue Reay to lunch, make sure the restaurant features a dish or two made with SPAM® products. The famous canned meat is among the favorites of Sue and her team – on and off the job.
As the founder and head of East River PR, Sue works closely with Hormel Foods in the United Kingdom, bringing much-deserved attention to the company’s products and activities in that portion of the company’s International segment. In particular, she and her associate Louise Thody work to spread the word about the SKIPPY® and SPAM® brands. And they happen to be really good at it.
In fact, their recent staging of the annual SPAM® Appreciation Week was a success that triggered a rare occurrence. Sue and Louise received the Hormel Foods Pride of the Jersey award, an honor usually reserved for people inside the company.
It was a fitting tribute, according to Liz Dee, senior marketing manager for the Hormel Foods U.K. business. “They go above and beyond for the brand every time,” she said. “They’re an extension of our marketing department … and great ambassadors for the brand.”
SPAM® Appreciation Week plays on the public’s love of the SPAM® brand. Sue has been working on the event since 2006, approximately three years before she started her own agency. In all that time, she’s seen it get bigger and better. By all accounts, 2019 was the best one ever.
“The story was picked up by national radio stations, featured on leading blogger sites and run in national and regional publications. We were even featured on the front cover of the Daily Star, a major newspaper,” Liz said.
In addition to masterminding SPAM® Appreciation Week, Sue became an accidental wedding planner several years ago. She had heard through the grapevine about a man who legally changed his name to include the SPAM® brand moniker. He appeared at an event Sue and Louise were working on in Liverpool, and that’s when the wheels began to turn for the East River PR team.
They got to know him and his fiancé and started to think about how interesting it would be to have the couple tie the knot at the SPAM® Museum in Austin, Minn., a stone’s throw from where the brand was created.
They pitched their idea to the U.S. team. In the end, the wedding took place in a magical ceremony that became a global story. Sue was there to witness the big event.
Many people played a role in pulling it off. As a matter of fact, Sue thrives on that kind of collaboration, especially where Hormel Foods is concerned.
“We’re like one big happy team,” she said.