Stop it, Pork Favor

Apr 23, 2019
2:37 PM

There are certain things brands don’t get about advertising in two languages—usually, and unfortunately, it’s the entire Spanish language. Sometimes it’s a combination of language and culture mixed with the way in which people consume (pun intended) digital video.

SPAM’s latest commercial brazenly suggests that we use fried SPAM as a taco filling. I’m not even Mexican and I’m offended at the recommendation, but as a Latino in advertising who understands this is an era marked by brand and product mashups, I still felt the need to check it out.

It’s a quick, quiet commercial that relies on the sound of SPAM sizzling on a stovetop griddle. After the SPAM is flipped, cut to wedge-cut SPAM fries set on a tortilla and topped with something salsa-like, the voiceover comes in and say: “SPAM in a taco? Pork Favor.”

I’m sure you see the error already, mostly because you didn’t hear it.

The voiceover pronounces the phrase pork favor as if it was the Spanish term for thank you or please–  por(k) favor. While it may be a cute play on words when heard, it disregards the large portion of the audience seeing the ad on mute. Those folks literally read Pork Favor, which begs the question: What in the name of deviled ham is a pork favor? I know that one of them is pork’s ability to become bacon, but are there others? Well, yes: the ability to become carnitas, which is a more appropriate taco filling.

If you’re considering crossing cultural lines, talk to someone who understands the culture and can foresee —and forehear in some cases— the potential pitfalls.

Pork favor and thank you.

Happy #CincoDeFallo everyone.


Michael Calienes tweets from (wait for it) @MichaelCalienes.