Meat and cold cut maker Oscar Mayer believes there are few things better than the smoky aroma of freshly-cooked bacon. In an absurd stunt that tickles both the senses and the funny bone, the brand decided to objectify the extraordinary scent into 1,500 pairs of ordinary shoelaces.
The company cold-smoked and steeped (yes, like a tea bag) the limited-edition shoelaces with actual Oscar Mayer Hardwood Smoked Bacon to perfectly capture their scent, minus the cooking grease. Fans had until April Fools’ Day to contend for the savory strings by tweeting with the hashtags #OscarCookMyKicks and #Sweepstakes.
April Fools’ Day, which is typically a prime time for brands to stir the pot, was a tad toned down this year due in part to the pandemic and an underwhelming prank or two. That said, it makes sense that Oscar Mayer would launch its laces in line with the day, but not for or on it. Speaking of the pandemic, a loss of smell has become a hallmark symptom of COVID-19 cases. In fact, about 86% of people who have COVID-19 lose some or all of their ability to smell. Tying in the unforgettable scent of bacony bliss to something as forgettable as a pair of shoelaces, could give consumers currently struggling with the side effects of the virus something to look forward to and remind them of the simple pleasures of everyday life, no matter how mundane. At least, the quirky new product could inspire a slew of funny or wholesome TikTok videos for the growing number of pup-parents across the nation right now. For those who still haven’t learned to cook, the shoelaces could evoke fond memories of Michael Scott’s famous ode to bacon from The Office, a show many brands have been tapping into to appeal to the nostalgia wave that overcame consumers when the pandemic hit.
As the crisis continues to keep consumers and brands apart physically, the online arena is quickly crowding. As such, quality visibility can be hard to come by, as observed in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Food & Beverages. And since scent is the strongest tie to memory, looping in the sizzling smell of its signature product into an everyday object is a smooth move for Oscar Mayer, and a tasteful nod to the skyrocketing popularity (and slight ridiculousness) of NFTs. At its core however, the shoelaces give fans the chance to take their favorite smell with them everywhere they go—even if it’s just to the grocery store to buy more bacon.