The National Pork Board has announced it has secured the rights to the “Pork. The Other White Meat” trademark from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). The terms have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture but are contingent upon final approval of the contract.

The National Pork Board has been licensing the rights to the popular trademark, which was created by the NPPC in 1985, prior to the formation of the National Pork Board and the creation of the mandatory pork checkoff in 1986.

A study by Northwestern University in 2000 concluded that Pork. The Other White Meat was one of the five most-recognizable taglines in American advertising.

“This is a significant agreement because we believe it is important that America’s 70,000 pork producers own one of the industry’s most valuable assets,” National Pork Board President Danita Rodibaugh told delegates at the annual Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City.

“Farmers know there is great risk in making improvements to land they don’t own,” says Rodibaugh. “The same is true with Pork. The Other White Meat. As the National Pork Board embarks on its new “Don’t be Blah” marketing campaign to extend the reach of pork among American consumers, we determined that it was essential that we own Pork. The Other White Meat. It simply would be unwise to invest significant amounts of money in a campaign to build on the success of Pork. The Other White Meat without knowing that we always will be able to use that trademark.”

The proposed terms of the agreement call for the National Pork Board to pay the NPPC $3 million annually for 20 years.

The agreement also protects the checkoff organization’s ability to pay for the trademark. Because the Pork Board’s sole source of income is the pork checkoff, the agreement specifies that if the Pork Board’s ability to pay for the trademark lessens, due to a reduction in checkoff rate or some other cause, the purchase agreement will be suspended, the equity will be preserved and the final three years of the existing licensing agreement will be reinstated. The Pork Board and the NPPC would then have three years to negotiate new terms based on the board’s new financial position, or give the board time to move to a new trademark and brand.

Rodibaugh defended purchasing the brand vs. building a new brand. “We believe building a new brand to the same recognition level would take a minimum of seven years and cost more than the terms of this agreement. There also is no guarantee that a new brand would reach the 90% awareness among consumers achieved by Pork. The Other White Meat.”