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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

  • February 21, 2011 at 7:04 am

    FYI, I moved this post from the “P.S.” portion of my review of Monarch Seafoods in the previous post, so it could share it’s own time in the spotlight.

    Following are comments that were made pertaining to this post:

    Jan on February 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm said:
    The crab stuffed ahi roll sounds so good, I may have to try making it. Loved your SPAM label, particularly the Spamwich Isles! I’ll be voting for you, good luck!

    Dina on February 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm said:
    SUPAH AWESOME JOB on the Spam Label! Hope you win it!!! If so I’d love an autographed copy. lol. I have a couple cans of the 2003 Hawai’i cans, with SPAM still in ‘em. AUWE, no I hope no one ever plans on eating them! Good luck!

    Pomai on February 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm said:
    Dina, as advertised, Hormel has indeed put up the SPAM label designs this morning. See them all here:

    Hopefully they plan to make the design image links larger, as currently they’re too small to see any details in the designs.

    My design is currently 7 rows up from the bottom on the far right. What I’m really surprised at is the amount of label design entries, as I thought there were going to be HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of submissions. I thought every graphics house (including students in school) in the islands would have had a hand in this one. Oh well.

    Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one to make surfing and/or the ocean the theme.

    There’s also a few designs that have the Hawaiian Island chain as one of their elements, yet nobody else turned them into “Da’ SPAMWICH ISLES”. Woo-hoo!

    I’m a little surprised there aren’t any designs that went the gallery art route, which would have been kinda’ neat to see. There’s certainly no shortage of designers that are well versed in Illustrator (vectored art).

    Once again, to vote for your favorite Hawaii SPAM label ’11 design (which hopefully is mine!), please visit:

  • February 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Hi Pomai! I love your SPAM design… you are sooo creative! I most definitely voted for your artistic creation. I hope you WIN !

  • February 21, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Voted for you. Keep up the good work bloggin’ about food.

  • February 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Pomai, I love spam so much so I made a Hawaiian Star Musubi with crushed pineapple and spam have a glaze also with it. I have not seen any Hawaiian style musubi around.

  • February 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Very Cool…………I have emailed everyone I know to vote for your design. Good luck to you !!

  • February 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Everyone, big mahalos for the support! I just added in the post to make sure that you open an automatically generated eMail that is sent to the address you provided when you clicked the “vote” button. You must open that eMail and click a link to confirm your vote in order for it to be counted. Please make sure to do that. Really appreciate it!

    Amy, I’d love to see a photo of your “Hawaiian Star Musubi” creation, as I can’t really picture in my mind how that would look. EMail a photo of it next time you make it and I’ll feature it here on this blog (if you’re ok with that)!

  • February 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Fantastic design, Pomai! I will vote right after I finish here. Have been missing your blog entries, you must be busy – hope to read more soon! Aloha!

  • February 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    spam, spam, spam.. love it in anyway it comes.. even just out of the can.w/o cooking it..lol…. design is the best way to advertise it… good luck , got my vote

  • February 22, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Pomai, you are a genius and I have just voted for you … all the way from Hong Kong! I am from Singapore but will be here for a while because of work.

    I first came across your blog back in 2007 whilst looking for oden recipe and became addicted to spam musubi because of your postings … LOL … good luck with the contest and I hope you’d win!

  • February 22, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Yehey! My vote has been counted!

    Lots of luck to you!

  • February 22, 2011 at 6:40 am

    After reading Amy comment on her Hawaiian Spam Star Miusubi, I got to try it out myself. It not hard to gather all the ingredients to make. Yummy indeed so there no need for picture since it so easy to make. Top is grill spam with mustard, brown sugar glaze second is brown sugar mustard crushed pineapple stir fry add to shape rice , spam and wrap in nori. I have spam on top of pineapple and wrap it.

  • February 22, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Uh, still looking for Spam Musubi at the gas station counters here in North Carolina but no gots. Maybe I could offer it at my counter? How about a Caramel Macchiato and a Spam Musubi? They would reply, and a what-what? If it aint Carolina BBQ they do not know it and people here just do not venture out of their box.
    Your one of the most creative men I know Pomai-son! Your design is wonderful and you deserve to win. You got my vote. Keep up the great work buddy!
    Aloha from Smallsbury NC.

  • February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I wished they sole this kind of Spam here in Cleveland, Ohio.

    BTW-last year, we took a tray of Spam musubis to tailgating at a home game with our Cleveland Browns (Here we go Brownies, here we go!)
    All the haoles ate it – gone in 10 minutes.

    Keep up the good work Pomai!



  • February 23, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Nice creative design that incorporates what Spam is to Hawaii. I think you should get bonus points because you have a ‘Spam’ musubi favicon and for your “The Tasty Island Spam Musubi Rating System.”

    You’re definitely rocking the Spam and I salute you.

  • February 23, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Pomai, instead of just musubi only fried saimin with spam and fried rice with it. They are also very popular food from the islands too.

  • February 24, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Also Spam omelet, Spam/fried egg sandwich…my favorites!

  • February 25, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Squeezed for time right now, so I’ll comment personally to everyone later. Just want to quickly say today’s the last day of voting, so if you and/or your friends and loved ones haven’t cast your vote(s) yet, please click on the link and vote for your favorite design (which would be mine) lol)!

    Mahalo! :-)

  • February 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Did you hear about the woman leading the vote? Talk about fanatic
    She put out a classfied ad and PROMISED to send a can of SPAM from her winnings to everyone that votes and emails her. According to Hormel, a year’s supply of SPAM is 1 case a month. That’s 144 cans! With over 2000 votes how will she fill her promise? Crazy yeah?

    Here’s the link to her ad.


  • February 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Nice job — Da Spamwich Isles make me hungry, though. You can see the cispy bits! I got my vote in, just in time.

    Sitting on a display shelf in my kitchen is one of the 2003 Hawaii cans, along with an Okinawa

  • February 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm


    70th Spam anniversary can. If your design wins I’ll put one of those cans on “display” too!

  • February 26, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Debbie-chan, what was that “Okinawa”…. something you didn’t finish mentioning? “HWN Pake from Okinawa, a.k.a. Nate once posted a photo on his blog of a wide variety of luncheon meats widely available in supermarkets in Uchinanchu land. Where, apparently this type of canned meat is a very popular substitute for the more expensive fresh pork in many popular Okinawan dishes, including Goya Champuru. I have yet to see a “SPAM Pig’s Feet Soup” (Ashitibichi) though. That is unless Hormel comes out with a product based on Pig’s Feet “parts”. lol

    Nate, it’s funny how locals think ANYTHING made with SPAM is “local”. I’m pretty sure wherever SPAM is eaten on the mainland, eggs are a common accompaniment. See my comment above addressed to Debbie-chan on another novel idea!

    Aaron, SPAM Fried Rice and Fried Saimin “Noodooz” are definitely top picks in my book. I still prefer “wet” saimin (having a liquid dashi-based broth) with SPAM in it though.

    Milo, glad you noticed my SPAM Musubi favicon. I must say, it stands out amongst other bookmarked favicons I have tagged up on my browser bar!

    QLF, let me know if you can find Goteborg Sausage in your neck of the CONUS woods, and if so, what brand(s) is it?

    Aloha Kirk! I hear your coffee shop is doing really well. That is so SWEET! Every time I see Aaron, it always amazes me how strikingly he takes after you in looks… and of course HEIGHT!

  • February 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Erica, your SPAM recipe suggestions just had me thinking whether anyone has ever had a “Thanksgiving Day Feast” made with roasted Turkey SPAM in substitute of real roasted Turkey and SPAM in substitute of real roast Ham. Shoots, why not? lol

    Aloha to you Chien all the way out there in Hong Kong. What brands of luncheon meat do they sell there? Speaking of brands, I notice Tulip Bacon flavored 25% less Sodium Luncheon Meat (made in Denmark) has disappeared from our store shelves.

    Virgy, mahalo for the vote! Hope you got to see all the SPAM Musubi Haiku entries folks submitted in my SPAM Musubi Shopping Bag giveaway contest. Some creative and entertaining stuff for sure!

    AP, been very busy myself, hence the long absences here. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a note. Always appreciated… to everyone!

  • February 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Sorry, I was posting from my cell phone, and it cut out.

    I was referring to an Okinawa-only can commemorating the 70th anniversary of Spam. It has two women in Okinawa kimono on the front, and on the back suggestions for a “Spam party” (looks like mostly Spam musubi with the rice mixed with different types of furikake). And yes, grocery stores in Okinawa have a very big canned luncheon meat section, with types made specifically for that market.

    My Mom makes a soup that’s (very) roughly similar to ashitibichi. Dashi broth, daikon, cabbage or other greens, green onions and Spam!

    I actually prefer goya champuru made with Spam. I think it matches the taste of the goya better than plain pork.

  • February 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Debbie-chan, you MUST send me a photo of your Okinawa-only can commemorating the 70th anniversary of Spam. Onegaishimasu! I just have to see that! Please, please, please!

    There’s another one that looks like this…

    Also, your mom’s SPAM-based Ashitibichi “knock-off” sounds literally “Crazy Tasty”! lol

    I also agree that SPAM has that salty edge over “plain” pork that allows itself to compliment the in-your-face flavor of bitter melon (goya). Yet I’m not partial to either or.

    Now you seriously have me cravin’ some Goya Champuru for dinner tonight! :-)

  • February 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    You got it! I’ll try to snap some pics tomorrow.

    Mom’s soup is very good and comforting. That “salty edge” of Spam really punches up the flavor of the vegetables!

  • 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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