Jack Link’s Names GSD&M as Agency of Record, Ending 13-Year Relationship With Carmichael Lynch

Incumbent Carmichael Lynch declined to participate in the formal review process, opting instead to be judged on the strength of its current work.

Sasquatch has a new agency partner.

Jack Link’s named GSD&M as its new creative and strategic agency of record, following a review launched in February and conducted by agency search consulting firm Pile which initially included around 30 shops.

Incumbent Carmichael Lynch declined to participate in the formal review process, opting instead to be judged on the strength of its current work.

“We’re proud of our 13-year partnership with Jack Link’s and the brand we’ve built together, resulting in a household name and the No. 1 snack in convenience stores nationwide,” a Carmichael Lynch spokesperson said in a statement at the launch of the review. “We’ve declined to participate in the formal review process and continue to focus on the work at-hand and launching our newest campaign together.”

A brand spokesperson added that Carmichael Lynch is “being evaluated and considered in the overall process” but  “not participating in the official Pile process,” instead being “evaluated on current and ongoing work.”

Carmichael Lynch subsequently launched its “Runnin’ With Sasquatch” campaign later that month, following an anthem ad that ran locally during the Super Bowl.

Jack Link’s CMO Tom “TD” Dixon said Carmichael Lynch has played “a critical role” in the brand’s history, developing the Sasquatch character and the “Feed Your Wild Side” tagline.

“As a matter of best practice, we routinely evaluate all our partnerships to ensure we are delivering the best value for the company,” Dixon explained. “We had not reviewed the creative AOR position in over a decade, so it was time for a thorough reevaluation.”

Dixon told Adweek the character Carmichael Lynch developed “will continue to be a key asset for the brand,” adding, “As we begin to reach different types of consumers in various channels, where and when Sasquatch appears may change. We are not far enough into the strategic process to comment on a creative evolution.”

Jack Link’s new agency of record arrives as the brand’s marketing team moves into a new office in a 70,000 square space in downtown Minneapolis. The brand spent around $11 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, up from over $9.1 million in 2016, according to Kantar Media.

“Recruiting new team members, developing a new state of the art office and innovation center, along with bringing on new creative partners are all a part of the formula for developing and driving … strategic growth,” Dixon added.

GSD&M’s first work for the brand is expected some time in late 2018 or early 2019.

“From the get-go, we had a really great, natural chemistry with the Jack Link’s team, so we’re thrilled to be working with such a collaborative, passionate partner and like-minded problem solver,” GSD&M account director Coley Platt told Adweek.

“GSD&M brings to the table a long history of building brands on their purpose and establishing an ownable position that makes consumers think about the brand differently,” he added, pointing to the agency’s work for Avocados From Mexico, Chili’s, Tostito’s and Chipotle. “We couldn’t be more ready to take on the challenge and make Jack Link’s the staple protein snack of every household.”

Last month, GSD&M retained the U.S. Air Force account, with a $747 million contract set to expire in September, 2027. The agency launched its fourth consecutive Super Bowl ad for Avocados From Mexico the month prior. In January, the agency confirmed a round of layoffs, citing “ever-evolving client needs.”

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.