Fast food chain Jack in the Box is collaborating with singer Jason Derulo to launch an exclusive virtual restaurant. Called the One in a Milli Virtual Restaurant, the pop-up will serve culinary creations inspired by Derulo’s “Milli Meals”. The partnership aligns with Jack in the Box’s brand, being the most creative and risk taking amongst the major fast food chains. The restaurant has been successful in positioning itself as a guilty pleasure, synonymous with late night cravings and stoner munchies.
One in a Milli builds off Jason Derulo’s “Milli Meals“, a concept he created to celebrate every time he racked up a million new Tik Tok followers. As a musical artist, Derulo hasn’t produced a hit song in years and was on the verge of irrelevancy. However, after experimenting with Tik Tok during the COVID-19 pandemic, he found a way to regain notoriety and turn his career around. Derulo amassed over 46 million followers in the last year and half, becoming one of the most followed celebrities on the social media platform. “Milli Meals” became a Tik Tok hit and help Derulo gain followers, as people were excited to see what craziness he would concoct (typically cavity inducing desserts)
Sticking with the narrative of indulgence (and probably unnecessary) food combinations, the One in a Milli Virtual Restaurant features five items for sale, including:
- Milli Meal: a Triple Bacon Cheesy Jack, Roost Fries (fries topped with fried chicken pieces, cheddar cheese sauce, shredded cheddar and Mystery Sauce) and Mini Chocolate Croissant Bites
- BurgerAco: a beef patty, a taco, shredded lettuce, onion rings and Mystery Sauce between two brioche buns
- Bacon Churro Milli Shake: vanilla shake with maple syrup, bacon pieces and cinnamon sugar topped with churros and bacon
The menu sounds like an instant stomach ache, but should generate buzz for its novelty. One in a Milli will operate out of ten Jack in the Box locations in LA and is only available through delivery by Uber Eats from June 14 through June 28.
The most obvious reason for Jack in the Box in collaborating with Jason Derulo is to exploit his massive Tik Tok following and gain new customers, specifically Gen Z. This demographic makes up 60% of Tik Tok’s user base and is a very important customer segment for fast food restaurants. Gen Z consumers don’t have much discretionary income to spend on more premium priced food options, they tend not to be cooking at home and want the convenience of fast food, and they will very soon make up the biggest portion of spending power.
However, Jack in the Box lacks strong brand recognition with Gen Z’ers. In a survey conducted by Business Insider, Jack in the Box isn’t even mentioned in Gen Z’s top fast food chains. The industry is very competitive from so many fast casual and quick service dining options, and Jack in the Box has been pushed into the background.
By leveraging Derulo’s existing social relationship with Gen Z, the Jack in the Box will better engage consumers versus their own paid advertising. Also by creating an offshoot restaurant brand One in a Milli, it’ll also remove preexisting brand associations or build or intrigue. Lastly, by tapping Uber Eats as the exclusive delivery partner, it’s trying to integrate with a digital behavior (online food delivery) that Gen Z already adopts.
“Jason Derulo has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the food world thanks to his series of clever, food-focused TikTok videos, so it just made sense for us to find inspiration for this campaign from the TikTok king himself,” said Ryan Ostrom, Jack in the Box chief marketing officer.
Jack in the Box is also aiming to drive more users to its dedicated mobile app. For customers outside of One in a Milli’s delivery zone, which is every one outside of LA, they can order the Milli Meal via the Jack in the Box app through August 8th. People who order through this channel are also entered to win prizes, including custom One in a Milli clothing, memorabilia signed by Derulo, and Jack in the Box gift cards.
Leveraging celebrities for fast food collaborations has been a trend in the last year. McDonald’s locked in deals with Travis Scott and BTS for special promotional meals. Chipotle worked with Shawn Mendes to create a special burrito bowl that benefitted charity. In a day where hype and brand recognition can drive sales versus actual product, incorporating major strategic partnerships can be a value driver for any brand. No one is rushing to Jack in the Box to try a BugerAco or lining up at the McDonald’s drive-thru to try a Quarter Pounder with bacon (which was the Travis Scott meal). However, shrouding it with a popular celebrity name shifts the focus away from the food and to the experience of ordering it and then sharing it on social media.
The other layer to Jack in the Box’s One in a Milli initiative is to collect valuable data on this important Gen Z customer base. By driving them to download the mobile app and get data on their ordering preferences, they can better construct targeted campaigns and innovate new menu items.
Jack in the Box should continue to line up influencer driven virtual restaurants. It’s probably much more effective than having these influencers post about food that doesn’t seem that appealing in the first place.