Jason Hron is a died-in-the-wool SPAM® brand aficionado – a lifelong fan even. Nevertheless, he raised an eyebrow when he began working on an event that was about to feature the world-famous product in a soft-serve dessert. (Think frozen custard but in a very unlikely flavor.)
The brand manager at Hormel Foods had a hand in the recent SPAM® Musubi Madness, a Los Angeles happening and the fruit of a partnership between Hormel Foods and the giant online food-and-beverage blog Foodbeast. For three weeks in September 2019, the two companies worked with the staff of the restaurant LONO Hollywood to create a little piece of SPAM® brand heaven in the City of Dreams.
By all accounts, the event was a success. Approximately 375 journalists, influencers and consumers filled the pop-up on Sept. 7, 14 and 21. They sipped SPAM® cocktails (in glasses fashioned from the familiar blue-and-yellow cans) and noshed on SPAM® corndogs and five varieties of SPAM® musubi, arguably the brand’s most popular dish. All of the items were infused with the flavor that has won over a couple of generations and is well on its way to having a foothold in a third. In fact, according to Hron, that was among the goals of Musubi Madness.
By the numbers Musubi Madness
The SPAM® brand, he explained, has experienced record-setting sales for the past five years. It resonates with older generations because it’s heavily nostalgic, reminding them of bygone days and of family meals around their dinner table. It’s long had a down-home feeling, but that’s been evolving – or at least expanding. Millennials and other young people are signing on, especially as restaurants such as the hip and edgy LONO feature it on their menus. Even the choice of Foodbeast as a media partner was a nod to the brand’s trendiness and the bond foodies and the under-40 crowd are forming with SPAM® products.
“The SPAM® brand is unique, and Foodbeast speaks to it,” Hron said. “There’s also that appeal that we’re seeing in foodservice where people have heard of it but have never tried it.”
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For its part, Foodbeast hailed Musubi Madness as a “new high” for its team, already well-versed in staging marquee events and promotions. To wit: It garnered approximately 72 million impressions, and more than 6.7 million video views, 210,000 social media engagements and 32,000 social media reactions. A number of sessions were filled to capacity.
No one is more delighted than Hron, who understands well the demand for SPAM® products (and is now sold on SPAM® sundaes, by the way).
“Being an 80-year-old brand and still being on trend and able to create a buzz – that’s great,” he said.