Y&R New York Introduces Ball Park’s New Jerky Line

By Erik Oster 

Y&R New York launched a campaign introducing Ball Park’s expansion into the jerky category with a new flame-grilled offering, dropping the “So American” tagline in the process.

The brand, best known for its hot dogs, is entering a market beyond the refrigerated and frozen food sections of the grocery store for the first time with its jerky line, hoping to appeal to jerky lovers and fans of the brand who are up for trying something new. Jerky is a growing market, with a recent NPD Group study finding an 18 percent rise in adult consumption of meat snacks over the past five years.

“We have high-growth aspirations in jerky, which we think will be fantastic in building the overall Ball Park brand,” Timothy Smith, vice president, general manager of Tyson’s Emerging Brands Group, told AdAge

But jerky is also a crowded category, dominated by big players like Jack’s Links and Slim Jim. Y&R New York’s launch spot, “Vending Machine” seeks to differentiate the brand, based on the insight that some people find jerky too tough. The spot introduces Ball Park Flame-Grilled Jerky as “tough, but also tender” with a scene depicting character actor “Tiny” Lister vigorously shaking a vending machine to retrieve a bottled water for a co-worker, reinforcing the message a voiceover proclaiming the meat snack “Dried to be tough, flame grilled to be tender.” It ends with the new tagline, “Grab Life By The Ball Park.” Yikes. Supporting the broadcast effort will be digital, in-store, PR and influencer initiatives. Beginning on October 19, the brand will roll out a social effort calling on consumers to tweet their tough problems to @BallParkBrand using the hashtag #HelpMeTiny. 

Following Ball Park and parent company Hillshire Brand Company’s acquisition by Tyson Foods last year, Smith says the spot is the beginning of a larger campaign for the brand which will see its marketing budget nearly doubled. The effort will continue with the “Grab Life By The Ball Park” campaign extended to the brand’s more familiar hot dog and hamburger offerings next year.