We, as marketers, spin things in our favor; it’s really just a matter of trying to even the playing field. Pigs have always been in a tight spot: they’re widely considered to be filthy animals, there are entire ethnic /religious groups that look past the deliciousness quotient and refuse to even eat their flesh, and now they’re being associated with something entirely sinister that could bring the civilized world — including pig-abstainers — to its knees.
Pigs — with the assistance of communicators — could do a few things in this situation:
Distance themselves from the subject – A simple press release claiming no known connection to the illness would do some good. At least the news stories would be more “Swine Decline Ties to Flu” than “People Dying of Swine Flu.”
Blame someone else – This could fall right into that press release. Lay the blame on the birds — after all, they’ve been known to cause flus, too. Or say it’s SARS 2. Blaming terrorists or the economy could also work.
Rename the illness to something hip and/or delicious – This clever little marketing trick might come alongside a full-scale re-branding effort. Here you could actually try to boost consumer demand for the disease by calling it something like “Xtreme Baconation” and going on a big press tour with the Jonas Brothers (do they eat bacon? I don’t know). The kids would eat it up. YUM.
Make an iPhone app – Why not, right?
Open a Twitter account – Why not, right?
Limit supply – You could pull a Palm and limit supply of this Xtreme Baconation, again driving demand. “Where can I get it?” people will ask, and you’ll say, “sorry, all out.” Eh? Sounds pretty sweet.
Those are really just a few of the tools at the disposal of the pigs. By combining these tactics in a comprehensive marketing plan, they may soon see us eating more pigs, wearing pig hats, lining up outside the Swine Store and more. If any Elder Swine are reading this, holla atcha boy – I need some work.
UPDATE: It seems the fine folks at the World Health Organization read this blog and have decided to rename this horrible swine flu to something less offensive to the porky population. Now dubbed H1N1 influenza A, this illness is surely not going to get the headlines it did with the bacon connection.