Eating Beyond Meat Jerky? Your Younger Self Would Be Horrified

GS&P's fantastical take on evolving tastes

If you could hang with a much younger version of yourself—from your teenage years, or grade school, perhaps—what would you discuss? The merits of plant-based treats versus the sugary, fat-slathered snacks you craved as a kid, of course!

The time-trippy premise isn't new, but it's expertly deployed by Beyond Meat Jerky in four ads that proclaim, "You've evolved. So should your snacks." 

First, an emo riff, featuring licorice as black as the soul of a George W. Bush-era 16-year-old:

Beyond Meat Jerky | EMO

As for bingeing on pizza pockets till the wheels fall off ... that's so last decade:

Beyond Meat Jerky | Nu-Metal. Nu-Me.

"We'd been kicking many different ways into the strategy of Beyond Meat Jerky being the smarter way to jerky, the jerky for how we live now," says Jon Wolanske, creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which developed the campaign. "This led us to the idea of ghosts of our past, and how they actually do exist in our lives thanks to our Facebook timelines. We can be greeted on any random Tuesday by a photo from our distant past, whether we want to or not. That reality sparked the idea of 'What if our younger self could pay us a visit and question how we've changed, anytime, almost without warning?' "

Sometimes they're scarfing down pork rinds, or throwing tantrums in public places:

Beyond Meat Jerky | Starting QB
Beyond Meat Jerky | Tantrum

"Jerky eaters and people looking for great-tasting protein snacks come from all walks of life, but they're united by the fact that they always want to find a better way of doing things," says Liza Darnell, CMO at Planet Partnership, the Beyond Meat/PepsiCo venture that develops plant-based snacks. "So, the idea of evolving and the different personal ways we change over time was a big place to play, creatively, for the team. We love that so many people can find something they relate to personally in these spots."

Breaking this week across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest, the ads benefit from casting young actors rather than leaning on computer effects or dressing up adult performers as kids. Doing so would've created a distracting, cartoonish tone. Instead, the interactions feel surprisingly authentic (even understated, at times) as director Harold Einstein deploys a deft comic touch.

"Harold was great at zeroing in on the moment that mattered most in each scene and helping us cut away the rest," Wolanske says. "And of course, revisiting past fashion trends like JNCO jeans and tucked-in sports jerseys is kind of like comedic catnip."

On May 11, Beyond Meat disclosed disappointing Q1 results, largely attributed to the jerky launch. In the spirit of the new campaign, however, CEO Ethan Brown championed the brand's evolution and vowed to keep innovating.


Chief Marketing Officer: Liza Darnell
Director of Brand Marketing: Danielle Armbrust
Global Consumer Insights Director: Maximiliano Stefanich
Consumer Insights Associate Manager: Pamela Naranjo
Senior Manager, North America Media & Consumer Data: Eve Rabin
Digital Media Specialist: Teagan Mosenthal


Chief Creative Officer: Margaret Johnson
Creative Director: Jon Wolanske
Creative Director: Jon Wyville
Copywriter: Mike Gallucci
Art Director: Stevan Chavez

Account Services:
Managing Partner: Brian McPherson
Group Account Director: Becca Morris
Account Manager: Mollie Norin
Assistant Account Manager: Adrianne Medina

Brand and Communication Strategy:
Partner, Head of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan
Partner, Head of Communication Strategy: Christine Chen
Group Communication Strategy Director: Caitlin Neelon
Brand Strategist: Darien Ahn

Co-directors of Production: Leila Gage and Margaret Brett-Kearns
Executive Producer: Stephanie DeNatale
Executive Producer: Matthew Winks

Business Affairs:
Director of Business Affairs: Judy Ybarra
Production Business Manager: Yelena Kompaneyets

Production Company:
Company Name: dummy
Production-Company City: Venice, CA
Director: Harold Einstein
Director of Photography: Glynn Speeckaert
Producer: Michael Kanter

Editing Company:
Company Name: Arcade Edit
Editing-Company City: Santa Monica, CA
Editor: Dave Anderson
Assistant Editors: Mitch Mitchell
Senior Producer: Kirsten Thon-Webb
Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone

Audio and Sound-Design Company:
Company Name: Lime Studios
Audio-Company City: Santa Monica, CA
Audio Mixer: Joel Waters
Audio Assistant: Collin Thomas
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

VFX/Finishing Company:
Company Name: The Mill
VFX/Finishing-Company City: Los Angeles, CA
Executive Producer: Melody Alexander
Producer: Daniel Beldy
Shoot Supervisor: Roxy Zuckerman
Head of Finishing: Thomas Downs 
2D Artist: Roxy Zuckerman, Kevin Diaz

Color Company:
Company Name: Company 3
City: Santa Monica / New York
Colorist: Tim Masick
Color Assistant: Ryan Moncrief
Color Producer: Kevin Breheny

Music Company:
Company Name: Butter Music and Sound
Music-Company City: New York, NY
Executive Producer: Annick Mayer
Executive Creative Directors: Tim Kvasnosky
Senior Producer: Stone Irr
Associate Producer: Sonia Ohan
Composer: Julian Trivers

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