Monday, November 28, 2011

Marketing Big Meat

Mother Jones recently ran an interesting exclusive: branding and packaging pages from a draft marketing plan fror Sara Lee about how they could reposition Hillshire Farm deli meats as a more sustainable and healthy option.

The scanned document looks like it was nicked from a recycling bin, but it's worth reading just for gems like this:

Give it up for pepper!

And this:

Good job, bees!
This off-the-cuff, conversational style is supposed to represent a new era of transparency and sustainability  in megameat.

Well, aspiring to transparency and sustainability anyway. And buying up small farms so that their newly-pluralized brand name actually means something.

It's good, though, that consumer pressure is forcing big processors into at least wanting to be seen as wholesome and small.

They also want to break into the food snob market by developing two new premium brands, "Smith & Smith" and "Flat Iron Ranch".

"Size of the prize"? I'm amazed that agency people can present that to a client with a straight face. But they also committed the following atrocities:

I am so ashamed of my industry right now.
Does this look into the marketing minds behind Big Meat surprise you? Disappoint you? Or just confirm what you already suspected.

This kind of rebranding, dressing factory-processed meat in a neighbourhood butcher's apron, is happening throughout the packaged meat sector.

But the big question is, how much marketing spin are you prepared to swallow?

And note to self: shred all draft marketing plans.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. As a committed vegetarian of 11 years, I'm unlikely to buy any of these products.

    I assume that the target market is American? (We get Sara Lee desserts in the UK, no idea about packaged meat) The copy certainly sounds American-casual to me...

    To my eye, the packaging looks like spread. And it doesn't look that upper market either - if I was to open a pack (pouch? carton?) I would expect something that looks like pate inside.

    I quite like the print ad. Very 50s in appearance - but it is a shame that this doesn't seem to be replicated on the packaging. Either the product is good, honest down-home-America or it isn't...

    And I think the team must be Meatloaf fans, judging by the rubber hitting the road comment.

    Shame. There's probably a lot of latitude in presenting the packaged meat industry differently. However, these don't cut it for me and actually make me think of packaged mechanically recovered meat slop.

    Oh I'm such a narky veggie at times...