Ad Space – Don’t Mess With Jack

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Jack In The Box restaurants

The Promotions:

The Pitch:
Our staff struggle and compete against each other to bring you the best fast food possible. If that means the occasional corporate assassination, so be it.

Fast food chains often try to fit their commercials into a specific niche, one that differentiates them from all the other fast food commercials out there. McDonald’s has its colorful and kid-friendly ads. While Dave Thomas was alive, Wendy’s opted to have him speak to the audience in a down-to-earth, conversational style. And we’ve already gone over the misguided pandering to adult consumers in Rax commercials.

Well, at some point Jack In The Box decided they were the gonna be the fast food chain with edge. Not trying to be hip, necessarily, but they weren’t afraid to have their mascot be irreverent, acerbic, even a little violent.

Like, imagine if Ronald McDonald or Colonel Sanders were retired as fast food mascots, and the company celebrated this event by blowing them up on-screen, with even an old lady who once defended them shouting, “Waste ‘im!” Then imagine them coming back decades later, now a sharpsuited business tycoon, ready to kick ass, take names, and murder his enemies with explosives.

Hard to picture, but that’s the route they went with Jack. Him being a motionless sculpted clown head on top of a human body … well, that adds an extra dose of “vaguely threatening” to the mix.

These two ads are by no means the end of Jack being a more confrontational figure than most fast food spokespeople. I could also show you ads of him being a strict boss prone to firing subordinates, or him subjecting Jack In The Box interns to cruel experiments. But, really, there’s one that shines brighter than all the others.