Andy Hines, best known for creating the wildly popular Slim Jim Instagram meme account, died on May 6. He was 35.
A GoFundMe account was created for the social media comedian, who originally started the imposter Slim Jim account as a hobby before it quickly blossomed into one of the biggest meme accounts on Instagram. Even though he had no prior professional marketing experience, Hines was eventually hired to run the real jerky’s Instagram page, which now has over 1 million followers.
Spencer Fivelson, the brand director of Slim Jim, explained to PR Week how Hines came to be hired by the meat company owned by Conagra Brands. He said, “Our Instagram content was attempting to be funny and gain attention, but it missed the mark. Consumers felt like they were being marketed to and it was contrived.”
In 2018, Hines’ copycat account, called @SlimJimsDoingThings, had garnered over 15K followers, while the real Slim Jim page only had 5K. In September 2018, Hines posted a meme to his page with the caption, “Me realizing I have more followers than the actual Slim Jim page and they still won’t hire me as director of marketing.”
Fivelson said, “We wondered: How is this account doing this? They are not paying for this and they have three times as many followers as we do. We noticed the content was really funny. It was connecting with a unique voice and fans were responding to it.” After inviting Hines out to a Slim Jim pop up event in Washington D.C., they hit it off in person and the rest was history.
“The reason why @SlimJimsDoingThings was so interesting was because of the funny and witty content that appealed to the social community in a voice that made you want to engage,” said Fivelson. “His posts did that in a way that didn’t take itself too seriously.”
Hines was married to wife Meghan and was the father of two boys. A cause of death was not immediately made public. Daniel Zavaro, who created the fundraiser on behalf of Hines, wrote the following message:
Our beloved friend Andrew Peter Hines passed at the age of 35. He was a loving father, husband, and son who brought happiness and laughter to his loved ones, and to millions of others through his creative endeavors. He was brilliant, funny, and truly one of a kind. We have created a fund to support his son Danny and step-son Ryan. All proceeds will be going straight to them and appropriately distributed throughout their upbringing as they create lives of their own in their father’s absence. Donations of all sizes are appreciated.
Hines’ mother-in-law, Loren Cosgrove Fitzgerald, shared a personal tribute on Facebook. She wrote, “I will deeply miss my son in law! He could make anyone laugh. Unfortunately, he is gone too soon leaving behind Ryan and Danny. There is going to be some challenges ahead for them. But they will be better young men for having had their Dad/Step-Dad in their lives. Rest in Peace Andy.”
Hines also ran the Heck Off Supreme Instagram account, which also grew a large following from posting funny memes online. For his music career, Hines had his own @heckoffandy account.
Tributes To Hines & His Hilarious Online Jokes Were Shared On Social Media
Hines’ jokes brought joy to millions of a people day who were scrolling through their phones on Instagram, and his creative humor will be missed. Taylor Lorenz, a reporter for The New York Times Style tweeted, “Please please consider donating to the GoFundMe his family has set up. Andy was only 35. The internet is a far worse place without him.”
Andy Hines, a staple in the meme world better known as heckoffsupreme who ran several hilarious accounts including @slimjim, has died. I am gutted. Andy was such a wonderful human being and so creative. I feel so incredibly lucky to have even known him. Such a tragedy pic.twitter.com/YiSOXIvi5f
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) May 9, 2020
Actress Melissa Joan Hart also tweeted out Hines’ GoFundMe page, which as of Friday night, had raised over $11,500.