It seems unbelievable that the public would choose sodium-infused roadkill as a snack, and even more unlikely that they would continue to consume this pricey shoe-leather if incessantly bombarded by an annoying commercial. And yet this is exactly what has come to pass in Jack Link’s popular advertising campaign, Messin’ with Sasquatch.
The premise which guides this series of ads is interesting enough: practical jokes. All the old standards are here: the hand in warm water trick, the rat’s tail,* the ‘want-a-ride?’ tease, and so many more. The campaign quickly turns unfunny, however, when it becomes apparent that there is but one target of this sophomoric harassment. Invariably the lonely, hunted Sasquatch is the sole victim to the childish whims of Gen X white guys, and can only bellow inarticulate rage at his tormentors. Beef jerky, the ostensible focus of the campaign, is tangential to the story, something for the inebriated yahoos consume as they torment the massive cryptid.
The most damning aspect of the commercials is the complete lack of comeuppance for bigfoot’s tormentors. After being so cruelly mocked, the enraged Sasquatch reacts violently against the perpetrators, sometimes tossing them about, once going so far as to turn over a speeding golf cart. However frightening the beasts’ counterattack, the response is clearly not forceful enough to compel the abusers to desist: the wildly popular commercials continue. This is a dangerous message for a society already rife with bullies.
The Sasquatch’s well-deserved revenge extends only far enough to leave the soused perpetrators with minor injuries, perhaps a fracture or bad sprain. In a perfect world, these commercials would be so graphic as to require a parental advisory warning, depicting a more realistic fate for those drunken cretins foolish enough to taunt an 800-lb. beast with the brain of a man. In this more just version, the forest is decorated with the carcasses of Bigfoot’s assailants: human heads nestled in the crotches of trees, entrails festooning tree-limbs like holiday crepe-paper, the woods alive with the electric white noise of flies, and the sky above marked by a slow gyre of lazily circling vultures. In the center of it all, atop a massive pyramid of sun-bleached bones picked clean of meat, Sasquatch sits munching from a blood-streaked bag of Jack Link’s.