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Bacon Salt


  Bacon Salt
kosher
by Barry Silverstein
March 10, 2010

Can a food obsession lead to a successful brand? Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow think so. Justin and Dave started J&D Foods with the slogan “Everything should taste like bacon.” And they’re totally serious.

These two friends like the taste of bacon. Actually, they love the taste of bacon. Their passion led them to an idea for a quirky product called Bacon Salt. Instead of just fantasizing about Bacon Salt, they quit their jobs at a technology company and became self-styled “bacontrepreneurs.” When a vegetarian friend of theirs said she liked the idea too, Justin and Dave realized they could serve the masses with Bacon Salt by removing the real bacon yet keeping the taste. That’s why Bacon Salt uses artificial bacon flavoring and has no fat, no calories, and low sodium.

 
 

Since Bacon Salt contains no real bacon, Justin and Dave did the unthinkable: they obtained kosher certification. “Yes, there are rabbis out there with enough chutzpah to certify things with bacon in the name as kosher,” they say.

Bacon Salt was such a novelty that the Seattle company scored with significant media coverage, like a feature on ABC World News with Charles Gibson. The early success of the original Bacon Salt spawned these line extension flavors: Hickory, Peppered, Applewood, Maple, Cheddar, Jalapeno, and Mesquite. There is also a Natural version.

Why stop there? Bacon Salt has become the flagship product for a range of bacon-flavored foods. J&D’s second product, Baconnaise, was more of a challenge to produce than Bacon Salt. It resulted from a customer request to make “spreadable bacon, namely mayonnaise.” Justin and Dave took six months to perfect the taste and consistency.

Baconnaise is available in Regular and Lite versions. In the founders’ typically humorous style, they say on their website, “We know what you’re thinking. We’ve just combined Bacon and Mayonnaise. Heart attack in a bottle, right?” They go on to show the ingredients, which are surprisingly healthy.

Next in line were bacon-flavored popcorn (BaconPOP) and bacon-flavored ranch dressing (Bacon Ranch). J&D’s latest product, however, is the quirkiest yet: bacon-flavored envelopes called Mmmvelopes. With bacony tongue in cheek, Justin and Dave claim: “Technology has given us a lot lately. The car. TV. X-rays. The refrigerator. The Internet. Heck, we even cured polio. But what have our envelopes tasted like for the last 4,000 years? Armpit, that’s what.” Mmmvelopes are intended to solve the problem.

Obviously, Justin and Dave are having a lot of fun with their products – as much fun, say, as another famous food duo, Ben and Jerry. And like Ben & Jerry’s, J&D Foods knows how to create memorable brands. The company’s labels have a folksy, down home look – the Bacon Salt and Baconnaise labels depict illustrated bacon slices accompanied by the ubiquitous slogan, “Everything should taste like bacon.” The packaging has the same authentic feel as the Newman’s Own brand.

Justin and Dave have also figured out how to make a name for J&D’s products without consuming a huge ad budget. They’ve launched a blog and have a presence on Facebook and MySpace. They run publicity-generating promotions, such as “The Bacathlon” in Seattle, “the world’s first bacon-themed multi-sport athletic and endurance event, featuring an attempt to set the world record for bacon eating.” They started a fake public service campaign, “Don’t Snort It,” accompanied by a very funny website to combat the supposedly growing problem of snorting Bacon Salt.

On a more serious note, J&D started “Operation Bacon Salt,” a program that allows anyone to send Bacon Salt to overseas military personnel at a 50 percent discount. Like the Baconnaise idea, “Operation Bacon Salt” originated because a corporal in the Marines wanted to enjoy the taste of bacon even though he couldn’t get any where he was stationed overseas. Obviously, this is a company that listens to and learns from its customers.

While other brands may be feeling the negative effects of the economy, J&D’s line of bacon products are humming along nicely. The company had US$ 1.4 million in sales in 2008, up from $350,000 the year before, according to CNBC. This year looks “much better,” say Justin and Dave. Seems as if these two bacon-loving guys are all about bringing home the bacon.

 
     
  

Barry Silverstein has been a frequent brandchannel contributor since 2007. He has thirty years of advertising and marketing experience and is currently a freelance writer and marketing consultant. He founded and ran his own direct marketing agency and held executive positions with Epsilon, a leading database marketing firm and Arnold, a major ad agency. Silverstein is the author of three marketing books, including the McGraw-Hill book, The Breakaway Brand, which he co-authored with Arnold CEO Fran Kelly.

  
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Bacon Salt - kosher
 
 fortune favours the brave, you keep your ears mighty close to prospects beats and you will always come up with break away brand. Who would had thought coca-coal would be a way of life 
MuhammadQasim Bham, Wg.Cdr, Air Froce - March 13, 2010
 
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