Meat and Cheese Diet

The Boys:

* EJ, The Shy One — His favorite color is fuscia. Goal: to be just like Jack, minus the round head.

* TK, The Exotic One, The Mystic — “”I like a girl with a lot of flavor, like the Ultimate Cheeseburger. It’s got lots of meat, lots of love, and lots of flavor. I like my girls to be saucy like that.””

* TJ, The Cute One, Pisces — Goal: to record a solo album “”Me, Myself, and Meat & Cheese.””

* JT, The Tough One — “”I came here to do two things: eat Ultimate Cheeseburgers, make some music and kick some butt. Right now I’m all out of — wait a minute, that’s three things. I never get that one right!””

* The Other EJ, The All-American, The Other One — “”We’re not like every boy band out there, we groove to the meat of a different drum.””

Just when we thought the wrath of boy bands had finally subsided, Jack in the Box restaurants have unleashed their secret weapon: the Meaty Cheesy Boys. These five make up a group of heavily moussed, hip-gyrating, lip-synching teen-age boy-toys intended to promote the company’s most manly of sandwiches, the Ultimate Cheeseburger. Using musical groups and the ad-within-an-ad concept isn’t new for Jack in the Box. The same technique was used for the Spicy Crispy Chicks, an ode to all-girl groups (e.g. Spice Girls), back in 1997. Although the Meaty Cheesy Boys are definitely a new breed, are they here for the long haul? Next to the antenna-balls, these boys are possibly the best thing to happen to Jack in the Box since its Mint Oreo milkshake.

The Meaty Cheesy Boys have every component of real teen icons, including their own Web site and fan base. At http://www.meatycheesyboys.com, which is dedicated to the boys and their music, fans can scope “”sold out”” dates for their 2000 concert tour. Also at the site is Teen Beat — style profiles on EJ, TK, JT, The Other EJ and TJ, who all share the Ultimate Cheeseburger as their favorite food. An additional 30 fan sites have popped up over the Web, proving that teeny boppettes are still in need of hunky prepackaged love machines.

While advertising, public relations and an Internet campaign are nothing new for Jack in the Box, the MCB capitalized on this pop trend to such perfection that they landed an unheard-of guest appearance at the “”Billboard Awards”” in December, where the group crooned its collective love for all things meat and cheese — probably much more enjoyable viewing than “”‘NSync’s HBO Special.”” Area disc jockeys have recently flooded the company with requests for the Boys, in the flesh, as guests. The only interview the band was willing to give took place on “”founder”” Jack’s very own call-in radio show, an ongoing format for the chain’s radio efforts. Although, if you find yourself in need of a beefy dairy fix — the official MCB Web site is offering MP3 downloads off the latest advertising campaign. It’s completely understandable why these five boys have such an attentive following — I became an instant fan after hearing the lyrics to their newest release, “”The Ultimate Cheese Burger (extended remix)””:

Girl, I know you’re a vegetarian

But I won’t eat tofu again

Give me the Ultimate Cheeseburger

I’m sure you’d understand

It would be better

If you ate more like a guy

If lyrics like that don’t make you want to throw your panties on stage, I don’t know what would. But I’m almost positive that the site of these fabulous five will have your heart melting like a slice of cheese; and with songs titled: “”Your Love’s Melting Me, Baby”” and “”Put On Your Dancin’ Meat,”” it’s no coincidence that product sales have jumped 40 to 50 percent since the campaign began.

Hot and juicy boys singing about hot and juicy burgers — the world is not a perfect place.