Here's a brand new sentence: Single-serve meat snack purveyor Slim Jim has apparently had its custom "Fast Meat" Nissan Z stolen. According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the vehicle was last seen "in California" and an active police investigation is underway. The company is calling on its fans—affectionately known as the Long Boi Gang—to get in touch with the Los Angeles Police Department with any tips to help find it.
We only have one question: What are the odds that a crime actually occurred and this isn't just guerrilla marketing?
Before we dive into what exactly smells fishy here, some background: Wrapped in a bright yellow and orange Slim Jim livery, the sports car is (was?) part of an ongoing partnership between the snack company and World Wrestling Entertainment and travels across the country to drum up publicity. In addition to the eye-catching wrap, the car is outfitted with a custom yellow leather interior, LED underglow, a dedicated Slim Jim holder on the inside, a dedicated Slim Jim dispenser in the glove box, and per the aforementioned press release, "a fabric interior with 69s, a hidden 420 and the Long Boi Gang emblem to show love to the Slim Jim Community."
To the undoubted devastation of Long Boi Gang members everywhere, the Slim Jim Z has apparently been stolen. Rival meat snack makers Jack Link's Jerky can even be seen commenting, "A few people have tried blaming us for this, but we would NEVER. Just want to be clear. We hope you get your meat mobile back ASAP."
But, to be honest, I don't buy it for a second.
Firstly, for those who aren't chronically online, Slim Jim has a broad and distinctly immature presence on social media. Garnering 1.3 million followers on Instagram (undoubtedly high for a meat snack company), its feed consists of absurdist, tangentially Slim Jim-related memes, and the account can often be spotted commenting under some of the platform's most popular meme pages. Here are a few of my favorites to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
We love cars too, father of Jim.
Point is, Slim Jim doesn't seem like the sort of company that is above doing ridiculous things—like, for example, faking a stolen vehicle—in the name of publicity and, on vibes alone, all the official comms surrounding this whole thing have come with a whiff of unseriousness. Stuff like the company vaguely saying the car was last seen "in California." Or the #FindFastMeat hashtag. Or this quote from Conagra Brands VP & General Manager Ashley Spade that may as well come with a shot of Spade winking into the camera:
"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. We continue to work closely with the authorities and we ask anyone if they spot it to report it to the LAPD."
Now, I know what you may be thinking. Authorities are involved! A police report was filed! Faking a stolen car is so illegal! Surely, no company in their right mind would do such a thing just for a bit of "free" marketing!
In a more rational timeline, I'd agree with you, but let me point out that rules, laws, and real-world consequences have not stopped dumb marketing stunts in the past. Remember when Volkswagen lied, er, pranked everybody saying it would change its name to "Voltswagen" as an April Fool's joke a couple of years ago? Well, that ridiculous cry for attention resulted in a material change to the automaker's stock price, causing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to open an inquiry.
All of that being said, we have as much concrete evidence that the car was indeed stolen as we have that it wasn't, so, for all we know, this could very well be real. And if that is the case, I hope the thieves responsible are brought to justice and that the car is found soon so that it can continue traveling across the country bringing meat- and 69/420-related laughs to as many people as possible.
However, let me leave you with one question: What do you call a long, thin tool used to break into a car? Yeah.
Do you know where the Slim Jim Z is? Send us a tip: firstname.lastname@example.org