It's hard for a guy to grow up. He has to show up at work on time, pay the rent and pretend to have fun when his girlfriend drags him to baby showers and Shakespeare in the park.
Slim Jim customers told consumer researchers that they feel burdened by this transition to adulthood, and the ConAgra Foods meat snack brand saw sales grow when it pitched its products as a solution.
The campaign came in 2011, after Slim Jim noticed that its young, male customers weren't buying Slim Jim as often once they turned 18, thinking they'd outgrown it even though they still enjoyed it. Other snack brands, such as Doritos and Pringles, didn't see this drop-off, and Slim Jim wanted to attract those men ages 18 to 29.
The discovery that guys did not welcome their mounting responsibilities led to the breakthrough, according to an Advertising Research Foundation case study about the campaign, which won the foundation's 2013 David Ogilvy Award for research achievement.
The campaign gave a name to the problem of unmanly behavior like minivan ownership and couples' yoga classes. It's called “male spice loss,” and the cure is “man medicine,” or meat snacks.
The campaign targeted television, social media and gaming channels — all places guys go to escape adult responsibility, the case study said.
Slim Jim sales grew 14.1 percent in 2011 and 8.7 percent more in 2012.
Slim Jim continues to use the campaign with its latest product, bacon jerky, calling it the “bacon-iest way to fight male spice loss.”