Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Coming to a Gas Tank Near You

Jack Link’s “Messin’ with Sasquatch” TV spots – which usually show 20-something outdoorsy types playing practical jokes on a Big Foot character – have drawn a cult following since they were introduced in 2006. Starting this week, selected consumers will see the beef jerky ads closer to potential point of sale—at the gas pump.

One goal of the campaign, which is being beta-tested over the next six weeks at 52 locations in Boston and 57 locations in in Minneapolis, is to reach an audience not likely to catch the ads on television, according to Kevin Papacek, director of marketing at Jack Link’s.

The company’s target audience is what he calls “adventurous spirits” – active, outdoor-driven people, many of whom are males between the ages of 18 and 49. That’s hardly a set of couch potatoes. “We see this an opportunity to reach more consumers with our branded message,” Papacek says.

Secondly, Jack Link’s is hoping that, with the snacks prominently displayed at the gas station checkout counter, the ads will stimulate sales of the beef jerky product. “When people have idle time, it’s an ideal moment when they might need a snack. We hope our ad will give them an opportunity to purchase,” he notes.

Indeed, whereas Jack Link’s TV ads normally urge viewers to “Feed Their Wild Side” these spots are more specific in their call to action: “Go Inside to Feed Your Wild Side.”

The ads are appearing on the Outcast Media network, a specialized TV network with a mix of content and advertisements currently shown at around 19,000 screens at service stations across the US. Other brands, including Mazda, Ford, WalMart, Chase, Halls Cough Drops, PepsiCo and Sprint have also shown spots on the network, which in particular targets hard-to-reach, multi-tasking people. The audience tends to be younger and have higher income than the typical TV viewer as well, according to Nathan Gill, chief revenue officer at Outcast Media, and the gas pump is a place to reach them.

“One thing Americans do every week, for four to five minutes, is fill up their gas tanks. This is an opportunity to engage the consumer in a captive environment at the gas pump. Advertisers can use their TV creative but in a more active environment,” says Gill.

The network last year reached 34 million 18-49 year old viewers per week, ranking it ahead of ESPN, CBS and NBC Sports in reaching that demographic, according to Nielsen Galaxy Explorer. Only Comedy Central reaches more viewers in that age range per week.

Another lure of advertising at the pump is that companies can see whether the spots have led to increased sales. The Outcast audience, for example, has been shown to spend $3 billion in grocery and drug stores within the first four hours after leaving the pump and about $700 million at convenience stores, Gill says.

Jack Link’s says it will be following such data closely in deciding whether to roll out the ad at more stations on the network. And although Outcast recently introduced more interactive ads at the pump, which enable viewers to interact with offers on screen, or take a quick poll at the pump, Jack Link’s campaign is not yet linked into social media, according to Papacek. He says that could be incorporated into future efforts.

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