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Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Spicy Spam packs quite a punch.

We love our Spam and
we love our Tabasco, so ...

Betty Shimabukuro


IN Hawaii we take our Spam seriously. For evidence of this, consider the passion of Pamela Santos, who launched an email crusade to get Hormel to bring it's Tabasco-flavored Spam to the state.

Hot & Spicy Spam has been undergoing test-marketing on Guam for several months, the island territory having a serious affinity for both Tabasco and that lovely pink gelatinous log. Guam is the only serious challenger to Hawaii's claim of being champion Spam consumer of the universe.

Anyway, Santos, a Hawaii Newspaper Agency employee whose father is from Guam, has been ordering spicy Spam from traveling friends and family. "It's, like, the thing to bring back from Guam."

She finally decided this was too round-about a way to get her fix and so took to the Internet, giving new meaning to the e-word, "spam," referring to email messages broadcast far and wide and passed on and on. She emailed 50 people, encouraging them to email Hormel and ask that Hot & Spicy be brought to Hawaii. Those 50 passed on the message to more Spam lovers, in the modern tradition of electronic chainmail.

Last week, Santos got word from Hormel: Cut it out, please, and you're getting your Spam next month.

Hoagy Gamble, owner of L.H. Gamble, Hawaii sales agent for Hormel, says Hawaii will be one of 10 new test markets for Hot & Spicy, starting in August.

Gamble says he was informed a month ago of the start date, so Santos' campaign probably didn't tip the balance -- but it did give a nice exclamation point to the whole issue. "It was funny and fun, how aggressive she was to think that Hormel was going to overlook Hawaii."

One note: Gamble and his staff tasted the new Spam and thought it was too spicy for the Hawaii market -- "We all gagged on it, but we loved it" -- so Hormel reformulated it with about one-fourth less Tabasco.

Also coming soon is an oven-roasted turkey Spam, which is 96 percent lean. Nah, doesn't have quite the same zing.

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