The meat snack category has faced some incredible increases in competition in the past years. Slim Jim wanted to create an "out of the box" merchandising device that was clever, that spoke to their audience and also wanted to create a lasting image at retail. Numerous iconic examples were considered, but the man eating shark really tells the story of how this product can satisfy your hunger.
Traditional merchandising methods for convenience store snack items are wire and/or plastic product holders. Today's consumer is bombarded with a plethora of packaging and promotions. They wanted to create something uniquely different from anything in the market place.Therefore, the creative juices flew, as there were no limits other than space to create a solution.
Although Slim Jims can be enjoyed by anybody, they know their true target market is 14 to 25 year old males, research has shown a significant percentage of purchases are made by this category. As well as it is a high impulse item and needed to speak in a clever format of how to satisfy hunger.
A consensus was agreed on by the marketing team that Slim Jim and traditional displays were not doing enough to move product, as consumers eating habits were changing. The target market needed to be captured in a matter of seconds for this high impulse item. Several iterations of meat snack related icons were considered. A focus group was determined to provide feedback as to which symbol spoke to the brand. Hence, the Slim Jim Sharks Head.
Once the Shark Head was chosen, the next challenge was to figure out how to make it look as authentic as possible. Not imitational, yet functional. This large open mouth shark's head has an incredible small footprint on the counter, yet holds 20% more product than traditional devices. Special detail was required so that the skin tones, eyes and teeth were as authentic as possible.
The ROI and profit margin associated with inexpensive snack products always drives the investment associated with merchandising. At an average price of .99 per stick, there is not much margin to work with. Therefore, this impactful piece had to cost less than $20 each. Utilizing Asia manufacturing, adding exquisite detail, to decorating in a mold to mass product, this allowed an unbelievable turn around time of less than 8 weeks for over 23,000 pieces
Each unit was properly packed in a foam replica of the exterior of the shark head, ensuring 100%compliance upon receipt. Sent to distribution points throughout the country, this allowed for quick and efficient placement upon receipt. As the unit will arrive with a predetermined amount of product to be merchandised with.
The results were overwhelming for this new concept in merchandising. It really broke the mold from the traditional convenient store marketing. Significant dollars were invested, yet not really understanding how successful it would be. Presented to the sales team, the major focus at the annual NACS show, the results were outstanding. An order of 23,000 units was placed and had already garnered a 40% increase in sales during this time period from previous years.
The response from the brand and retailer was overwhelming, for the quantity ordered reflects an almost 85% coverage of every convenient store in the country. Plans are already in development for a version 2.0 of this type of iconic piece, for a saturated category such as meat snacks, this device has allowed Slim Jim to move the needle in a positive direction.