Hormel likes all this Spam; also: Imation marketing, Qwest ‘Power’ campaign

The cost of making nearly everything seems to be going up these days. Not so for Spam. Hormel Foods, the Austin-based maker of Spam, reported today a 14 percent increase in profits this spring. The success is attributed in part to lower pork prices, as well as an uptick in Spam sales. What does that say about the economy? Are Americans acquiring a taste for salty, processed meat, or are we trading down from filet mignon? More coverage here from Reuters, Associated Press and the Austin Daily Herald.

“What could be better than
to have a SpongeBob SquarePants alarm clock wake you up in the morning?” asks Imation CEO Frank Russomanno — I’m assuming rhetorically — in a video interview this morning with TheStreet.com. The Oakdale consumer electronics company recently signed a licensing deal with Nickelodeon to make gadgets featuring some of its characters, including Dora the Explorer, Diego and SpongeBob. Imation is also hoping to piggyback on Apple’s success by designing iPod and iPhone accessories, such as its iWake alarm clock. “This no longer is the nerdy-and-proud-of-it data storage maker that was spun off from 3M more than a decade ago,” writes the PiPress’ Leslie Brooks Suzukamo today in a story about the company’s new marketing emphasis.

Qwest announced today that Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer has signed on again to be a spokesman for the company this season. I wonder, though, whether Mauer — who has yet to hit a home run this year — was really the right choice to appear in an ad campaign called “Upgrade Your Power.” The ads will tout Qwest’s new “super-fast” Internet service. Maybe Carlos Gomez would have been more fitting for the endorsement theme.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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