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How Boar's Head Is Defending Its Brand Against the Old Flimflam: Six Steps to Empowering Your Customers

by Glenn Gabe  |  
July 1, 2008

Radio ads rarely intrigue me. They typically invoke an immediate response to change the station, or they just hang in the background until the next song comes on.

But, recently, a radio advertisement for Boar's Head meats demanded my attention. It was about an old flimflam and a unique way that Boar's Head is trying to battle a longstanding problem.

After hearing the commercial, I came home and immediately visited the Boar's Head Web site

Here's a quick rundown. About 20 years ago, Boar's Head realized a disturbing trend: Some deli owners would show Boar's Head in the deli case, but then use a cheaper deli meat when actually making sandwiches—not good for Boar's Head, not good for customers, and ultimately not good for the deli owner.

Fast-forward to today. Unfortunately for Boar's Head, a company with a long and proud history, it seems that the old flimflam has again reared its ugly head.

But Boar's Head isn't sitting back and taking the punches. It's fighting back. How? Well, it isn't sending an entire force of lawyers out on the streets, and it certainly isn't sending the deli police on raids. That wouldn't scale, or be that powerful.

Instead, Boar's Head is tapping into a much more powerful force that it has worked hard to build over the years. That's right—the Boar's Head loyal customer base! The company is asking consumers to report any deli that's pulling the old flimflam. It has set up an 800 number and wants customers to demand to see the actual product that is being sliced. Brilliant!

If the deli owner is pulling the flimflam, then the customer can call the 800 number and report the incident. Boar's Head would then take action and stop supplying that deli. I love it! It's empowered its own army of meat lovers. No guns, no grenades... but you bet they're armed!

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Glenn Gabe is principal of G-Squared Interactive (GSQi: and helps companies build and measure interactive marketing strategies. He blogs at The Internet Marketing Driver. Reach him at

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  • by Matt Leonard Tue Jul 1, 2008 via web

    Great article. Just goes to point out how far quality goes. It's great to have that kind of brand strength. Makes me think...I hope my company is Boar's Head and not the turkey that's actually being used for the old "flimflam"!
    It's also really cool to see a company reaching out. Aside from protecting their brand, what person wants to be ripped off?
    Good for Boar's Head

  • by Marlena Corcoran Tue Jul 1, 2008 via web

    The beautiful black and red Boar's Head trucks plied my old neighborhood in Brooklyn. And when that generation of German immigrants retired to Florida--so did Boar's Head. Their logo is indeed a mark of authenticity, and I was pleased to read your great article praising their engagement with their truly "loyal customer base." I appreciate that you singled them out even though this campaign is not interactive on their website--but in real life.
    The Former Resident Project:

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