The Social Aftertaste of Jack-in-the-Box’s Bacon Shake

Candida McCollam Owner/Partner, Localspeak

Posted on April 25th 2012

 The Social Aftertaste of Jack-in-the-Box’s Bacon Shake


Image Despite the promotion of Jack-in-the-Box’s Bacon Shake, the beverage has not yet reached cult status. 

A limited edition offer as part of the brand’s Super Bowl launch of the somewhat strange Marry Bacon campaign, Bacon Shake might attract more than just this year’s bacon-crazed “foodies,” but there is a caveat:  It is not listed on the menu.  As if intended to be some sort of clandestine offer, the beverage must be ordered by request by “those in the know.”  (Maybe there’s a secret handshake?)  

Regardless of the hype, the Bacon Shake offer did not drive me to the nearest Jack in the Box.  It drove me to a social media reality check; a chemistry reading, per se, of the drink’s social media aftertaste.  Looking at our NetBase social monitor, net sentiment for the drink appears to have tapered off since peaking in February after its Super Bowl launch.  And while the beverage still appears on the brand’s website, it comes as no surprise that the vanilla ice cream drink topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherry and alchemized with smoky bacon flavored synthetic syrup manufactured by Torani doesn’t meet Jack’s Healthy Dining Criteria.   And did I mention the shake comes in two sizes?  A 16-oz 773-calorie version or gluttonous 24-oz 1081-calorie super-size.  

I couldn’t help but wonder how much social media listening Jack-in-the-Box may have factored in prior to launching this chemical concoction.  That is, apart from standard taste testing conducted by fast food chains prior to a new product introduction. Did they do a quick pre-launch “concept reading” or early introduction social sentiment buzz review?  

By most accounts, the Bacon Shake imploded in social media.  And we couldn’t resist sharing some highlights of the social conversation.   The charts below were generated from 8,500 sound bites analyzed since February by NetBase.


Fans of Jack-in-the-Box’s Bacon Shake seem to like the taste of bacon period, ersatz or not.  For one fan in particular, Jack’s latest “private label” beverage was a natural sequel to a taste he had cultivated for bacon-flavored beer.  For a full breakfast flavor, another fan suggested adding coffee.  But a veteran fan of the “real deal” bacon shake said she had been enjoying it for years at B-spot, a gourmet burger chain.  She also warned that an extra wide straw should be used to drink up the real bacon chips.  Note to Jack:  B-spot is away ahead of the game.  The chain now is offering Apple Pie Bacon Shakes, too.


Another critical blog poster felt he suffered a “chemical attack” after imbibing the strange potion: 

But then that charred bacon syrup comes charging right back to the head of your palate, cold-cocking you with an overwhelming chemical sensation that coats the inside of your mouth like Pepto-Bismol.

Some of the social intelligence showed a yearning for the real stuff.  Many bacon shake connoisseurs seem to find Jack’s shake unpalatable because it doesn’t contain real bacon.  One dismayed poster even recommended a Las Vegas resort casino for a real bacon cocktail.   

Hey Jack, maybe you were right.  Some people still do want to pig out.   But maybe it’s time for you to bring home the real bacon.  


Candida McCollam

Owner/Partner, Localspeak

Global social media analyst, research strategist and localization expert. Delivers global social media brand audits, analytics, brand innovation, media tracking. NetBase partner, leverages award-winning NLP platform Insight Composer to deliver global brand insights and analytics in 40 languages. Yogini, linguaphile, passionate about global cultural research, social brand innovation, competitive positioning, social analytics.

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