Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Worst. Marketing Ploy. Ever.

I like beef jerky.  It's a pretty decent snack but it had been a good month or two since I had any...until the other day.  Decided to get some Jack Link's Beef Jerky from my local CVS and the first thing I noticed was the increase in price.  It had been $5.79 and today it was $6.29.  Well, okay.  Food is expensive, I understand that.  What really ticked me off, though, was this:

Bonus Bag: 10% More Free!

The first question that comes to mind is...10% more beef or 10% more bag?  It sure as heck isn't 10% more beef because the price is 50 cents higher than it had been which means Jack Link's, in their noble generosity, is giving me a whopping 10% more of the bag ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!!!

I thought there may have been an explanation or reason for this.  I mean, what kind of knucklehead marketing move is this?  So I went on their website and found the nutritional facts of the original-packaged Teriyaki jerky and compared it to this bag.  While the bag size is bigger, the serving size and servings per container are identical.  Confirmed:  Jack Link's Beef Jerky packaging strategy is to sell you a bigger bag.  That's it.  

But I wasn't done.  I decided to call the company out on it and contacted them.  Basically I summarized my findings here and asked if it is indeed true that they're pushing a bigger bag into consumers' laps instead of a better product.  I got this response:
Thank you for contacting Jack Link's Beef Jerky.  Pricing of Jack Link's Products vary.  While we do suggest a selling price to our retailers, they set their own retail prices.  The ‘Bonus Bag 10% More Free’ does refer to the package being 3.6 OZ rather than the regular 3.25 OZ even though the retailer increased the price.  The nutrition information, in order to be consistent, is calculated using a 1 OZ serving size and the 3.5 servings are approximate.
She then wrote her thanks for contacting, we're sending you some coupons, etc.  Well, okay - let's figure this out here.  Jack Link's makes a bigger bag and in turn raises its suggested retail price.  CVS gets word of this and ups the price 50 cents.  And that's fine - this isn't CVS' problem.  The fact that Jack Link's is resorting to something so deceitful, deceptive, and dumb is appalling.  So I wrote the following response:
Thank you for your response.  I appreciate it but I'm even more curious now.  What's the purpose of pushing this product because it's in a bigger bag?  What's the benefit of "10% More Bag Free"?
To which I received this response:

Thank you for your email.  Our Marketing and Research & Development teams make the decisions regarding package sizes and product promotions. 

Thank you again for your comments. I will share them with the Marketing and Research & Development teams.
I appreciate that the woman wrote me back.  This isn't her problem - it's the "Marketing and Research & Development" team's.  I put that in quotes because this packaging was a terrible move.

The funny thing about this?  This isn't false advertising.  They're saying you get a 10% bigger bag and that's exactly what you get.  Still - deceptive.  Keep in mind that this is the same company that puts out those funny sasquatch commercials.  How that can turn into this is pretty remarkable...remarkable as in bad.

Look, again, I realize food is expensive.  But for once I would like one of these companies to say "Consumers, food is expensive and we need to take measures to maintain our revenue and that may include raising prices and/or producing less.  We hope you understand and promise that when things turn around we will make it worth your while."

So thank you, Jack Link's.  Welcome to the Greg's Gourmet Hall of Shame.