Jack Link’s Beef Jerky

Have you seen these Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Messing with Sasquatch commercials?  All the commercials are pretty much the same, some asshole messes with Sasquatch and then Sasquatch tries to kill them.  It’s understandable, some jerk comes to your house, makes fun of you, and then high fives his friends.  Your reaction of wanting to do bodily harm to him is perfectly understandable.  That’s all good, but watching these commercials, I start to wonder, where did Jack Link’s come from?  According to their website, the company is family owned, a culmination of at least 4 different Link generation’s work.  However, the history part of the site is down, and if this is just a small family owned business that grew from word of mouth I have two major questions.

1.  How did they get the capital to buy spots on every major sporting event, and the website (that kind of work is a lot of money)

2.  How did they find Sasquatch?

These commercials popped up out of the blue one day, claiming that in order for one to feed his/her wild side they needed to procure copious amounts of jerked beef.  I thought the commercials were funny, they always reminded me of some of my friends and something they would do.  But I never bothered to think that here was a company that came from nowhere and is now advertising during baseball/football/basketball games.  The average cost to produce a 30 second ad runs around $350,000.  I have seen at least 5 different Jack Link’s commercials, lets be reasonable and say it cost them $1Million to produce these and then another Million on actually placing the ads (these figures are really conservative) that would mean this company had at least 2 Million to spend.  I know people in Wisconsin love them some jerked meat, but for an unknown company to come out with such an aggressive campaign is unheralded…or is it?

Do you remember Slim Jim? Of course you do, we all remember Macho Man Randy Savage yelling at us to Snap in to it.  Slim Jim dominated the advertising landscape of the 80’s and 90’s, controlling the entire fake beef jerky market.  But now where are the commercials?  Where is the wrestler demanding that I Snap in to it?  Well as ConAgra learned, a heavy marketing campaign cannot be justified over the long-term without sustained sales.  As sales grow in the initial marketing push, the big wigs see that the more they spend on advertising, the more the sheep (that’s you, you’re a sheep) buy their product.  And then just as economic theories suggest, you reach a point where sales have plateaued, regardless of advertising, and now the heavy advertising campaign is a race between Management and Marketing as to see who can throw away more money faster.

Whenever I frequent my local convenience store I look for Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, and I have never found the original style, only some teriyaki flavor.  So it appears the current advertising campaign is working, Jack Link’s is seeing sales grow with a directly proportional tie to advertising.  Unlike Slim Jim, Jack Link’s advertising push has caused a war, one that could spell the end of two major jerky players.  Recently I saw a commercial for Oberto. Oberto has been around as long as I can remember, they are the long standing, unchallenged champion of the beef jerky world.  With Jack Link’s sudden appearance, Oberto has seen profits shrink, and despite the fact that we are currently in a recession has decided to enter the world of television advertising.  This isn’t exactly Coke and Pepsi, which only advertise during the Superbowl or during certain seasons.  No, these two companies, these magnates of the jerky world are waging an advertising war for jerky dominance.  It’s hard to say what the outcome will be, but to be honest, it’s just jerky, I don’t know of too many people who discriminate over store bought jerky.  I feel like the type of person who has specific needs for jerky would make it him/herself.  What’s most likely going to happen is both companies will lower their net income due to rising advertising expenses, either one will stop advertising, they will both stop advertising, one or both will go out of business or one will buy the other.  Just you wait, in a few years I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Oberto Link’s Beef Jerky, or Jackberto’s Beef Link’s.

Now as for how they got Sasquatch to do those commercials, I wrote them an e-mail and am still waiting for a response.  Does it surprise you that I write companies weird e-mails like that?

4 Responses to “Jack Link’s Beef Jerky”

  1. Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

    Matt Hanson

  2. Actually I am that discriminating beef jerky customer which almost always refuses to buy jack links. True I do prefer oberto’s but they have recently cut the product weight and packaging, probably in an attempt to keep up with jack links.

    The fact that jack links is family owned is laughable. Maybe when they started and sure some family members may be on the board but it takes real corporate swagger to get yourself positioned as the dominant snack food in every convience store and gas station.

    I still say they got help from the whole atkins diet fad and now that that has gone and their ad expenditures have skyrocketed I predict a little bottom line trouble.

    Are they publicly traded? Maybe there’s a short play there.

  3. Hey there, to answer your question, no they are not publicly traded, but check out their annual sales figures (I need to get into the jerky business)

    http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_90vs0l

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