The world first heard about “spam” on July 5, 1937, when the American company Hormel Foods Corporation introduced canned pork Spam (read as “spam”). The new trademark was invented by Ken Dino, brother of the then head of Hormel Foods Corporation, Jay C. Hormel, and the decoding of this name, according to Hormel, “is known only to a small circle of former leaders of Hormel Foods.” But Spam (or SPAM) is thought to be short for spiced ham, the main ingredient in the new canned food.

The launch of the product was accompanied by an active advertising campaign, in which the name Spam was often and very intrusively mentioned, and then, with the outbreak of World War II and the entry of the United States, “spam” was talked about all over the world. Spam canned pork has become an integral part of the diet of soldiers not only in the US Army, but also in the Allies. Hormel Foods products were introduced in the UK and the USSR, as well as in the countries of the Pacific region, where the US military was present. Spam was an indispensable product in combat conditions, but after the end of the Second World War, the desire to get rid of stocks of canned food played a cruel joke on the food manufacturer.

The company, just like at the launch of a new brand, launched an extremely aggressive advertising campaign, using all available means to promote Spam – as a result, a billionth jar of “spam” was sold in 1959, and 10 years later, canned food became associated with annoying advertising.

  • How we tried to sue spammers, and what came of it


    How we tried to sue spammers, and what came of it

In 1970, the British comedian group Monty Python released their sketch called Spam, in which they played up the situation with the ubiquitous canned food advertising. In the video, the characters find themselves in a cafe where every dish on the menu contains “spam”, and all the visitors deafeningly sing the Spam advertising song. The humorous sketch, reflecting the situation of that time, was not forgotten even a decade and a half after the release of the Monty Python sketch.

In 1986, on the then popular computer network Usenet, a certain user Dave Rhodes began to persistently advertise a financial pyramid, publishing the same text with instructions for “enrichment” in different conferences, which quickly got tired of users. The audience quickly saw the analogy between these messages and the popular skit (the 3.5-minute Monty Python sketch featured the word spam 108 times), so the harassment was nicknamed after the canned food that was advertised in the same aggressive way.

Later, when spam (in this reading the word came into use in a new meaning) had already turned into a way of earning money both honestly and openly fraudulently, Hormel Foods repeatedly tried to ban the use of its trademark in court, but could not do it. As a result, the word spam these days is associated with canned meat SPAM, which is still produced in a variety of variants, for an absolute minority – for most of the audience it is “garbage” that comes to e-mail, social networks and instant messengers or comes in the form calls, but not a popular product in the middle of the last century.

However, advertising itself is not so bad. Worse, if you follow the link and stumble upon a scam site. Here are a few signs of such sites. And a few more tips from Kaspersky Lab on how to avoid becoming a victim of scammers.


spam history