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Hormel SPAM Hawaii Label Design Contest

Hormel Foods is currently holding a contest, asking Hawaii residents (must be a Hawaii resident) to submit a winning exclusive Hawaii label design for their SPAM 25% Less Sodium canned luncheon meat. The deadline to enter the contest ended this Friday, but online voting by the general public to choose the best design begins today!

This follows the success of the Hawaii Collector’s Edition they offered exclusively to the Hawaii market back in 2003, which looked like this…

The back of the can…

Here’s how the Hormel SPAM 25% Less Sodium can label currently looks…

Most SPAM varieties (turkey, bacon, garlic, etc.), including their competitors (like TREET) include a suggestive recipe or way to use their product on the back of the label…

Well, I hereby exclusively present to you my dear Tasty Island readers, my original submission for the Hormel SPAM 25% Less Sodium Hawaii edition 2011 label design…

A profile angle of how the can would look…

Here’s the label template that was provided by Hormel (as a PDF)…

which I imported into various art programs to fill in the blanks with my design…

Click image to enlarge. For the originally-sized (and very large due to DPI) image of the design, click here

Keep in mind that one of the rules is that “Designers can work in all white space (front and back of label), but must leave brand trade dress information on the label as is.”

Now let me explain my design. First of all, there’s COUNTLESS possibilities and ways to go about this. You could go the “Hawaiian Host scenic box” approach, and simply plug in a montage of beautiful scenic spots around the islands (beach, waterfalls, attractive hula gal and/or guy, etc.). Or you could go the gallery art “Cristopher Lassen” approach, which of course would entail hours upon of hours of work.

Then of course you could simply just show a nice shot of SPAM Musubi or other original SPAM dish that has a local spin to it on the front. Because everything has to be original and/or royalty-free, if you were to show a hula doll, tiki statue or some other typical Hawaii tourist trap stuff, it would either have to be your own, or you’d need permission from the manufacturer or person who made it. I’m not sure where Hormel got that Hula Girl Doll on the 2003 edition, but it’s certainly a great piece, so kudos to them for that design.

Whenever I create something that requires an artistic mind, such as say a masthead for a website, usually my FIRST concept is the one I find works the best. That said, the concept I propose here was the very first thing that came to mind, and I just rolled with it (or surfed it if you will).

My girlfriend highly recommended I think “outside the box” and get away from SPAM Musubi, but you know what? No matter what, there’s no denying SPAM Musubi is THE defining icon of what SPAM means to Hawaii, period. SPAM, eggs and rice? Sure. SPAM Katsu, absolutely. SPAM in Saimin and fried noodles? Most definitely. Yet, by far, SPAM Musubi tops them all, and is truly as much a top-of-mind icon to Hawaii as the North Shore and/or Kilauea, just to name a few. No matter what, the venerable SPAM Musubi continues to be a an absolute REQUIREMENT on a SPAM label that will be mass-produced to honor Hawaii.

So a “SPAM Surfer” you ask? Absolutely! Why not?! There’s actually a key subliminal message behind that. With this being the 25% Less Sodium version — having 580mg of sodium versus regular SPAM’s 790mg — the reason Hormel is using this version is simply because, while Hawaii still enjoys being the largest consumer in the nation of SPAM per capita (with Guam actually beating us, but they’re a territory, not a state), the 25% Less Sodium is a better seller here than the regular SPAM. From a marketing standpoint, this ideally reflects Hawaii residents as a whole being at least somewhat health conscious. So “SPAM Surfer”  is intended to represent an active, outdoor lifestyle on the beach in Hawaii, and surfing is certainly a healthy sport that keeps you fit. Hence, a “SPAM surfer dude”. Adding to that, the graphic of the wave splashing and barreling right underneath the “25% LESS SODIUM” ribbon banner provides an underscoring way of giving the impression that salt is being washed away … even though sea water is salt water, but you get the drift. lol


I might also add, with the rebooted Hawaii Five-0 v.2.1 enjoying renewed TV network success, the barreling wave can also be associated with that (from the opening theme song). Or at least I’d like to think so.

Then of course he’s giving da’ shaka, the universal sign language gesture of Aloha.

Thrown into the design is a Hibiscus silhouette with a simple gradient blend, which as you may know is the official flower of the state of Hawaii. I actually want to redo that using an actual photo and vectorize it, which if my design were to be used, I’d certainly change that out in the final version. I also want to redo the wave illustration a little bit (simplify it more) if given the opportunity to do so.

Now the back of the label is really my favorite part! One idea was to take a block of SPAM and carve it into the shape of Diamond Head Crater, yet I took that eight steps further and “carved” the entire Hawaiian Island chain out of SPAM! Au-right! You know it! lol In Photoshop of course, by clip masking the text over a photo of a slice of fried SPAM. So if you look closely at the surface of the islands, it looks like they’re made of SPAM, which I’ve affectionately renamed in honor of Captain Cook’s “Sandwich Isles”, “DA’ SPAMWICH ISLES”. Clevah (clever) eh!

With that, my idea of a serving suggestion is: take some slices of SPAM and cut them out into the shape of the Hawaiian Islands, fry ’em up and present it on a flattened bed of rice and furikake on a plate, garnished with Teriyaki sauce and green onion to make the plating presentation complete. I bet your guests will be FLOORED! In fact, I’ll do it myself and blog it here in a post coming soon!

The first paragraph of the text copy is my own, while the rest is directly from Hormel SPAM’s history web page.

The two SPAM Musubi on the bottom left corner were (stress WERE, until I ate them both) mine, which I bought from the Kaheka Don Quijote, made by Tokyo Bento. 5 SPAM Musubi on them, as they were “Crazy Tasty” indeed! lol Believe it or not, I took the photo of that SPAM Musubi (duplicated on the label and rotated) on the dashboard of my car right before eating it at the beach. Au-right!

Finally, if you look closely, the gradient yellow and aqua blue band wrapping the top and bottom of the label has Tapa print embedded in it, sealing the “This is a Hawaii label design” deal.

So anyways, that’s my design and I’m sticking to it, Teriyaki sauce and all. Voting opens to the public today, Presidents Day, Monday, February 21 to Friday, February 25, 2011.

If you like/love/adore my design, please vote for me at www.HawaiiSPAMCan.com. My design is located seven rows up from the bottom on the far right, under the name “Pomaika’i Souza” (my real name of course). Note, when you click the vote button, the website will automatically generate and send an eMail to the address you provided, which you must open and click a link in that eMail to confirm your vote. Please make sure you do this so the vote is counted.


26 thoughts on “Hormel SPAM Hawaii Label Design Contest

  • May 6, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Aloha Pomai! I just wanted to mention that the Spam Can Label winner was not anywhere close to being as cool as your design. You were robbed! Aloha from Maryland, keep up the awesome blog!


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