I’m sure before you ever started to read this column you noticed the photo below first. From time to time during my travels, I see something that, at first glance, is humorous or ironic. If it stays with me long enough, I get out the old pen and jot it down for everyone’s enjoyment or learning. In this case, it’s both. Humor is an important part of life and many times offers valuable lessons.
On the surface, this picture is rather straightforward. We have a promotional truck parked in a prominent location with an inflatable advertising item in the back. No big deal. On closer inspection, you see that it’s a Chick-Fil-A truck with a humorous inflatable cow holding a sign that reads, “Eat Mor Chikin.”
Again, not such a big deal…until you consider whose parking lot the giant cow truck is parked in. Yep, it’s parked in the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar parking lot – not just any steakhouse but one of the premier national restaurants in the U.S. Now that’s a big dose of irony!
Don’t think that this is just a coincidence! The billboard-like bovine is parked on this highly-trafficked spot at least five days a week during lunch hour. Fleming’s is not open for lunch, so I’m sure the two managers got together and worked out a deal. The Chick-Fil-A location is just a few hundred yards away and doesn’t have the premium traffic view that Fleming’s has.
What’s the lesson here? I give the Chick-Fil-A manager an A+ for resourcefulness and creativity. His restaurant is out of view, so he found a way to get his creative advertising in front of the maximum number of potential customers. This is something we all strive to do in business every day. The Fleming’s manager gets a questionable grade in judgment. The Chick-Fil-A advertising might be providing some side revenue for Fleming’s during off-hours, but will everyone react to this humor the same way I did? People interpret things very differently. Some might take the message to heart!
In our attempts to be creative or clever, we need to be sure that our message is safe for all who may consume it. Business policies are the same in that respect. Be sure that the public will process your message or policy in the spirit you planned. It can be tricky!
I’ve got to go! All this food talk has made me hungry for some tofu.