Jack in the Box Plays Word Games

LOS ANGELES Some might dismiss Jack in the Box’s oblique association of the words “angus” and “anus” as a stab at crude humor.

Not so, says Secret Weapon Marketing CCO Dick Sittig, who views the strategy as an offbeat way to take on McDonald’s and Burger King—or any competitors that tout using angus beef in their burgers.

Two 30-second spots broke this weekend, touting Jack in the Box’s new sirloin burger.

In “Chuckles,” a demure company executive can’t figure out why her colleagues in the boardroom, including chairman Jack, double-up with laughter at her presentation on the competition’s angus burgers. A reverse-angle shot reveals the word “angus” perfectly centered above her head, with the “g” partially blocked. After the room settles down, one exec asks, “Are you saying that people will find our sirloin burger more attractive than their…angus-es,” at which point the laughter erupts once more.

In “Angus Diagram,” Jack points to the sirloin on a butcher’s chart when an exec asks him to find the “angus area.” Jack, whose proboscis is pointed at the rear end of the cow, says, “I’d rather not.”

Sittig directed both spots. “They don’t go too far,” he said. “For example, we talked about but stopped short of doing a spot on [McDonald’s] Angus Pounder.”

Sittig said the spots use of adolescent humor “is enough to turn you off to the idea of eating angus, but no more crude than a middle-school joke about the planets, or one planet in particular.”

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Secret Weapon is readying a further assault on “angus” and will push specialty sirloin burgers in coming months. “We are going to keep going after them,” Sittig said.

San Diego-based Jack in the Box spent $120 million on ads in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.