How Slim Jim responded when its Fast Meat car, a custom-built Nissan Z, was stolen — and then found

The meat snack brand is unveiling a new custom vehicle on January 17.

(Photo credit: Conagra Brands, used with permission)

Campaign: Fast Meat Stolen
Company: Conagra Brands
Agency Partners: 180 Global 
Duration: December 16, 2023 – ongoing

Slim Jim’s custom Nissan Z, known to fans as “Fast Meat,” has been on the move as part of an ongoing partnership with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), making recent stops in Chicago for the Survivor Series event before traveling on to Los Angeles for a custom video shoot. 

Then the car went missing.

At that point, Slim Jim parent Conagra Brands issued a press release announcing that the car had been stolen. 

Fans, however, were skeptical, said Amy Morgan, Conagra director of brand content and communications. This is largely down to the fact that stunts are commonplace in the world of professional wrestling (see Stone Cold Steve Austin driving a Coors Light 18-wheeler to the ring and then spraying his nemeses with ice cold beer).

But rather than treat the actual crime as a disaster, the meat snack’s marketers decided to lean into — or perhaps “snap into” is the better phrase — a marketing opportunity. 

Strategy

Slim Jim announced on December 16 that the car was last seen in California. 

“We knew we had something special with our custom car but had no idea it would be in such demand that someone would steal it," Ashley Spade, VP and GM of snacks at Conagra, said in a company statement.

But the brand creatives were not immediately sure it was a good marketing opportunity. 

“You never want to come across as opportunistic in a cringy kind of way,” said Morgan. “Once we knew that there were no issues with personal safety or anything of that nature and had made the right calls and discussions, we felt like it was worth taking a chance.”

Tactics

Slim Jim encouraged its loyal followers, known as the Long Boi Gang, to use the hashtag #FindFastMeat on social media to spread awareness of the theft and contact the Los Angeles Police Department with any tips.

“Last Seen: Unknown,” an Instagram post stated. “Condition: MEATY, LOST.”

Then, on December 21, the company shared a video on Instagram in which it declared that Fast Meat was “gone but never forgotten” and asked fans to vote on a replacement.

On X, Slim Jim polled fans about what new car it should purchase, its paint and logo placement and what it should be called, among other questions.

However, on December 22, the brand got an early Christmas present: the police reported that they had recovered Fast Meat outside Chicago. 

The custom wrap had been partially removed but otherwise it was untouched.

Still, Slim Jim is moving forward with its plans for a new vehicle: a Nissan GTR with a “yellow to red color shift,” fans determined.  

The brand is unveiling the new car on January 17.

Results

Slim Jim’s Instagram post announcing that the car had gone missing received more than 32,000 likes. Meanwhile, the Instagram Reel announcing that the brand would build a new car with input from fans generated more than 30,000 likes and 1,200 comments.

There were more than 13,000 mentions of Slim Jim on social media between December 15 – January 10, a 40% increase over the previous month, according to the campaign. 

A number of major news organizations reported that the car had gone missing and been recovered, including BloombergCBS News, the Chicago Tribune and Road & Track.


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