From Meat to Junk Mail

A product name that came about in the 1930s has created quite a stir in the modern online world. Hormel Foods has been making and canning SPAM since 1937, but the Internet boom of the ‘90s associated the product’s name with a negative connotation: spam emails. The name actually originated with a Monty Python sketch in the ‘70s. In the sketch, a couple ordering breakfast is confronted with a menu that’s heavy on one specific ingredient: SPAM. The word’s unwanted repetition led to people online using it to complain about unwanted junk email. Today, employees who work at Hormel are forbidden from referencing spam email, having been instructed to refer to them as “unwanted emails.”