Food

Jack Link’s takes shot at competition in Gen Z-focused national campaign

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Dive Brief:

  • Jack Link’s, the snack marketer owned by Link Snacks, launched a video-focused national campaign that takes a swipe at competitors to promote its Wild line of meat sticks, according to a press release.
  • “Feed Your Wild Side” aims to recruit Gen Z buyers through edgy social media content and out-of-home (OOH) advertising. The campaign utilizes a TikTok account to engage directly with younger consumers.
  • Developed in partnership with agency Milestone Integrated Marketing, the effort is heavy on shots across the bow at rival offerings. A common theme of the creative is ribbing “Jim,” an obvious reference to Slim Jim.

Dive Insight:

Jack Link’s is looking to expand its foothold with the growing $1.8 billion meat stick market with a new Gen Z-inspired campaign. With increased flavor innovation and greater variety, the processed meat stick space has become crowded with competitors.

At the center of “Feed Your Wild Side” is a TikTok account featuring a variety of content centered on Jack Link’s Wild meat sticks. The account has over 5,000 followers and millions of cumulative video views at the time of publication. While Jack Link’s is the most popular meat-snack brand sold at convenience stores, it is looking to gain ground with younger audiences that might then purchase other products in its portfolio.

“Nearly fifty percent of our customers start with a meat stick as their first purchase. It’s their ‘on ramp’ to jerky and as the leader in the category, we plan to own this segment, too,” said Holly LaVallie, senior vice president of marketing at Jack Link’s, in a press statement.

LaVallie emphasized that “Feed Your Wild Side” is meant to defy what’s boring in favor of embracing authenticity and risk-taking. The campaign doesn’t shy away from taking shots at Slim Jim, a Conagra Brands product.

Videos span a diverse array of genres that are popular on social media in an effort to reach as many consumers as possible. One is shot like a cooking tutorial while another takes a page from retro documentary footage, showing a group of hippies who are warned to stay away from “Jimbo’s” meat sticks and choose Jack Link’s instead. Another ad references teen films, depicting two teenagers meeting under the bleachers. The boy, who wears a varsity jacket, asks, “What will Jim think?” The girl answers, “Jim doesn’t need to know” before producing Jack Link’s.

Graffiti-like billboards for the campaign take a similar approach, displaying the slogan “Snap into a… ‘life-changing meat stick.’” This plays on the Slim Jim slogan, “Snap into a Slim Jim.” Jack Link’s is encouraging consumers to snap photos of the OOH ads for a chance to win prizes. The brand will also run activations and sampling events targeted at college towns this summer, with more details to share in the coming months. 

While TikTok is commonly associated with Gen Z, its user base is fairly diverse. A recent report from YouGov found 30% of weekly TikTok users are between the ages of 25 and 34, higher than the 25% of users aged between 18 and 24. Despite an impending ban, weekly TikTok usage has jumped from 16% of U.S. adults in 2023 to 21% in 2024.

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