The Pork World Tour

For the National Pork Board, which is looking for unique ways to connect with customers, this slogan perfectly captures the attitude it wants to convey and the action it wants customers to take. It may be an odd call to action, but “Don’t be blah” seems to resonate with people looking for something new to serve their families for dinner.

“Don’t be blah” launched last year with a print and TV campaign, along with a redesign of Web site. The just-launched 2006 campaign continues to promote a transformation of the family dinner hour from stale and boring to exciting and flavorful with the simple addition of pork to the menu rotation.

How? With an animated pork chop singing and playing acoustic guitar (this talented chop sports some mean electric guitar and bass, too). The Pork World Tour, my agency’s latest online campaign for the National Pork Board’s 20-year-old brand, The Other White Meat, launched March 1.

We personified recipes from in mini music-video-style ad units. In the first round of creative, which we just launched, we see a rock group, jazz duo, and Southwestern soloist all crooning about the taste pork adds to their life. The campaign’s second round, with videos from other musical genres, is scheduled to launch April 1.

How did we arrive at this idea? One of our creatives, Brian Linder, is also a singer-songwriter. He applied his musical talents to the campaign, coming up with songs about different pork recipes in such genres as reggae, hard rock, and smooth jazz. He played these songs for the client. They loved them. Plans for the Pork World Tour were off and running.

As a next step, we created an animated singing pork chop to bring those songs to life. We’re hoping they’ll compel our audience to roll over our ads or click a “listen in” button to expand the unit. Once expanded, users can see the full music video, peruse other videos, or click through to the National Pork Board’s site for recipes. The ad units can be seen here.

The media plan takes advantage of both expected and unexpected contextual placement. Cheryl Huckabay, media supervisor on the account, said, “It’s all about the media plan. And it’s all about the recipes. And it’s all about the music videos, too.” As you might imagine, we picked places where people go online for recipes, such as and FoodTV.

We’re also using placements on sites people use to plan their daily activities, where suggesting a unique meal might resonate with the audience. These more unexpected placements include WeatherBug and Placements on, for example, build on the natural occurrence of families gathering for dinner and watching TV by suggesting specific pork dishes to complement specific popular shows. So, when you’re checking out the “Desperate Housewives” listing, an ad suggests, “There’s always something juicy going on at”

In all cases, we’re taking advantage of placement in our competitors’ sections of sites. That means we’re in the chicken, poultry, beef, and fish content sections. The most challenging part of this strategy is SEM (define). We’re on Google, targeting competitive keywords (searches for chicken, poultry, beef, fish, and the like). For us to stay at the top of those listings, searchers must click our links and descriptions. And when they’re looking for chicken or beef, we must convince them to consider an alternative. So it helps that the site contains access to over 1,500 unique and compelling recipes.

As a result of the strategy, we’re actually getting people to reconsider their plans for other meats.

“Don’t be blah” inspired us at every step along the campaign’s development. We wanted an idea that would personify how exciting an alternative pork is to other dinner choices, such as chicken or beef. We wanted creative executions that stood out. We wanted media placements that went beyond the usual suspects. We’re just starting to get campaign results now, but, as you can probably tell, The Pork World Tour is a campaign I’m pretty excited about.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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