Slim Jim’s own music tour hit the streets in 2001 to bring an engrossing and entertaining sensory experience to teenagers nationwide. Blasting buzz bands and bizarre entertainment, Rebelliache was lacking a recognizable figure and overall consumer awareness of the tour. RF&A brought Macho Man Randy Savage into the ring as master of ceremonies and executed an aggressive media relations program, carrying the personality and rudiments of Slim Jim and Rebelliache directly to teenagers. The result: over $1 million in public relations value.
Description of Program
Slim Jim engrossed the nation during the summer of 2001 with the Rebelliache Tour, a proprietary music and entertainment festival. Rebelliache erupted in seven markets, bringing the rebellious, irreverent personality of Slim Jim to the streets and hangouts of teenagers nationwide. Featuring national music acts, physical challenges and bizarre performers, Rebelliache provided a free event that only a teen could love and only Slim Jim could deliver. Rising music acts headlined this innovative tour, including Bathgate, Sloppy Meateaters, Insolence, Smash Task and more. Rides such as Whirl and Hurl, Ride the Meat, The Revolter and Yank the Meat occupied teens for hours. Unusual talents including Rubber Girl, Wrestling Midgets and Lawnmower Man entertained attendees between sets and provided the all-important “freak-factor” that equals cool to teens.
Rebelliache dates and cities included:
May 12 – Atlanta, GA; June 9 – San Jose, CA; June 23 – Dallas, Texas; July 14 – Kansas City, MO; July 28 – Milwaukee, WI; August 4 – Albuquerque, N.M.; September 8 – Cleveland, Ohio
Slim Jim meat snacks are made by GoodMark Foods, Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina. GoodMark also manufactures and markets other meat snacks, including Pemmican Beef Jerky, Penrose, Tijuana Mama and Big Mama Pickled Sausages, and Andy Capp’s Fries. GoodMark is an Independent Operating Company (IOC) of ConAgra Foods, Inc., the second largest food company in the U.S. Slim Jim is a mature brand that has been in existence for over 50 years. Slim Jim is the snack of choice for trendsetting, upper middle class teens nationwide. Slim Jim has long been a staple of the convenience store customer, and has experienced steady growth over the years to remain the #1 meat snack. Richard French and Associates (RF&A) was hired as PR agency of record for GoodMark in 1998.
Slim Jim and RF&A faced the following challenges from a public relations standpoint:
· Establish Slim Jim’s music tour as credible in its first year
· Slim Jim needed to truly connect with the target market by executing a unique event exclusive to teens
· Rebelliache needed to be perceived as “the place to be,” a memorable, underground experience exclusive to teens – while adhering to a modest budget
· In some markets, the physical site was changed at the last minute, leaving the program dependent upon public relations efforts to drive traffic and maintain Rebelliache’s momentum and excitement
Through the continued analysis of teen demographic research, such as Teen Research Unlimited (TRU) and focus groups, “influencer” and “edge” teens have emerged as the natural target for the Slim Jim brand. These segments of teenagers are the powerful, trendsetting and rebellious groups that their peers either aspire to be a part of or follow. Factors uniting this diverse demographic include a love of hip-hop flavored rock music. Rebelliache provided a free, live diversion and product experience involving a demographic who otherwise spends time watching television, listening to CDs and hanging out with friends.
Today, teens are an increasingly diverse population with short attention spans, chronic boredom and fickle tastes. The combination of Rebelliache’s underground beats, loud graphics, uncommon attractions and the rapid pace at each event provided the self-expression and auditory anarchy that epitomizes the Slim Jim consumer.
Rebelliache underground advertising and viral marketing enticed teens to attend the free show in each market. To complement these efforts, RF&A developed a comprehensive public relations plan targeting national and local media designed to meet the following objectives:
· Generate earned media for the Rebelliache Tour
· Increase awareness of Rebelliache and Slim Jim
· Increase attendance at each Rebelliache event
· Establish Slim Jim’s music tour as a credible, unique entertainment source for teens
· Communicate key brand messages: rebellious, irreverent and individual
· Increase sales volume of Slim Jim
Rebelliache was supported by the following:
· A national radio and print advertising campaign by Slim Jim’s advertising agency (alternative publications)
· Wildcarding: postcards promoting Rebelliache strategically distributed in-market at teen hot spots
· www.rebelliache.net - launched May 4, 2001
· On-site sampling of Slim Jim product
· A national and grass roots public relations program
Specific public relations strategies included:
· Execution of an aggressive media relations campaign targeting national and local media
· Utilization of brand spokesperson Macho Man Randy Savage to lead PR efforts of Rebelliache
· Utilization of unusual talent involved in Rebelliache tour for media interviews
RF&A employed the following tactics in an effort to meet the objectives outlined above:
· Distribution of a Rebelliache press release to national and local media outlets
· A “Rebelliache Rx Kit” PR mailer was distributed to national and local media outlets
· A video news release (VNR) was developed for national and local television outlets
· Distribution of media advisories to local radio and television media
· Utilization of Macho Man Randy Savage as event emcee and a focus of pre-event media interviews
· Management of pre-event media interviews and opportunities for PR with Randy Savage and the unusual talent in each Rebelliache market
Summary of Results
Agency generated $1,174,922 in earned media during Slim Jim’s Rebelliache Tour. RF&A exceeded initial PR projections by 135%, or $674,922. Prior to the launch of Rebelliache, RF&A estimated a PR value of $50,000 per market over a ten-city tour for a total of $500,000 in earned media. RF&A realized an average PR value of $167,846 per each Rebelliache tour date.
Slim Jim also experienced “media side effects” as a result of aggressive Rebelliache national media relations efforts. The brand received prominent mentions on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and two mentions on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Slim Jim earned an additional $ 670,711.08 total PR value as a result of initial Rebelliache media relations.
As “Master of Mayhem,” Macho Man’s star power fostered media interviewed and prompted instant product recognition for Slim Jim. Randy’s longtime relationship with Slim Jim proved beneficial in introducing the new Rebelliache Tour and in building brand credibility in the world of music and entertainment. Macho Man’s on-stage presence sparked excitement among crowds and set the tone for each Rebelliache show.
Exact sales projections are still being identified, but Slim Jim sales volume is expected to reflect a notable increase as a direct result of Rebelliache.