Jimmy John’s knows how to roll the dice with a viral marketing campaign. Per a press release shared with Mashed, the company is at it again this October, trying to capitalize on the massive TikTok meme known as “boy math” with their Boy Math Catering Bundle, which makes hosting so simple that it barely makes sense. Designed for dudes with more pals than plates, the bundles include Jimmy John’s signature hand-made sandwiches, kettle chips, premium sides, and either Giant Cookies or Chocolate Fudge Brownies. Proving that you don’t need cookware, or to make sense, to have a good time. But the basic premise doesn’t quite add up.
If you don’t already know “boy math” is something you’ve been living with and alongside your entire life — we as a society just hadn’t yet decided on a catch-all term for the nonsensical and hypocritical habits that rule many masculine lives. For example, “being afraid of gold diggers when you only have 3 pairs of socks to your name” is classic boy math. However, we suspect that the campaign was inspired by this tweet by X user @SupernovaMomma “Boy math is only having 1 pot, pan, spoon, fork, cup and plate and asking her when she going to come cook for you.”
Jimmy John’s bundle subtracts boy math from the equation. It provides a non-hypocritical solution to a lack of plates and cookware — just ordering food for everybody instead of expecting a woman to cook without regard for how she would eat.
Risky business, or just a bit of nonsense?
Some trends make sense to try and jump on the bandwagon of, but a company leaning into a meme that kind of insults the target customer would be a risky move for some. However, Jimmy John’s is a college town staple and a product of the internet age. The first Jimmy John’s location opened in January 1983, the same month the modern internet was born. Many of their first franchise locations were concentrated in markets with high student populations. Market research shows that Jimmy John’s is incredibly popular with both millennials and Gen Z. The boy math bundle and even the way it misses the target idea may just demonstrate that the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Take, for instance, Jimmy John’s 4/20 promotion, which featured the Munchie Crusher sandwich and limited-edition rolling papers earlier this year. At the time, the company’s chief marketing officer Darin Dugan explained in a press release, “Jimmy John’s bold and irreverent personality allows us to have some fun … which not all brands can do.” The Boy Math Catering Bundle is a clear continuation of this attitude, a promotion meant as a joke. Jimmy John’s attempted to make this clear in its press release — “since this is such a smart deal, it’s for the girls too. Because the money you save from ordering a catering bundle means you just made money (hello GIRL MATH!).”