Somewhere within the recesses of the opaque and labyrinthian confines of the marketing minds over at Raising Cane’s Chicken Finger the idea was hatched to have a free lemonade day. This day fell on Saint Patrick’s Day (the real one, not the Saturday when it is convenient to get drunk, wear a patterned table cloth as a kilt and try to knock other people unconscious with fists full of plastic beads) and so thus the lemonade, which is very tasty by the way and purports to actually use gasp… real lemons, was dutifully dyed green. Otherwise, the lemonade stand-aethetic was more-or-less adhered too—there were cheerful yellow balloons, a crudely painted sign advertising the “stand” created as to appear as though an entrepreneurial 5th grader had scrawled it and everyone seemed pretty happy. Cane’s was also raising money for some school, for which they should be duly applauded. Free lemonade, education, chicken fingers, this is the stuff that Thursdays are made of.
This all sounds a bit snarky, I know. But, in truth I like their playfully disheveled approach to advertising. One minute it is a sunglasses wearing golden retriever proclaiming “One Love,” which I know is supposed to be about their singular devotion to chicken fingers but can’t help remindng me of some mid-1980′s Stevie Wonder B-side. The next minute there is a billboard with an octogenarian swearing her love for chicken fingers and, by extension, demonstrating an admirably cavalier approach to her cholesterol level. And then there was the green lemonade with yellow balloons that has something to do with a throng of African-American children soliciting money for school books.
I admire my fellow Episcopal High School graduate, Todd Graves, for his success with Cane’s. They really do make excellent chicken fingers. But, I also admire the whimsical, if sometimes confusing, approach to marketing they take. It has an almost, “Confuse them with Kindness” feel to it and in this age of rigidly controlled corporate image-making I appreciate a little whimsy with my fried food.
On a side note, Quinn is fascinated with balloons. This is probably not exceptional when it comes to two year olds but I know so few of them that her love of balloons really charms me. She has become much more verbal over the time that Anna and I have dated. As anyone who has experienced the wonder of watching a child develop, this is a fascinating, beautiful and often hilarious process. I’ll spare you some of her more off-color malaprops, but when she sites a balloon, she identifies it gleefully as something that sounds like a mixture of “Walloons” and “aluminum.” A Walloon is another name for the French speaking people of Belgium. So, every time Quinn points skyward at a passing balloon and yells “Walloominum” I imagine shinny Belgians, chatting away in French, floating by on the breeze.
This now somewhat lengthly blog post may provide more insight into the inner working of my mind than I might like, skipping as it does from oddly-honored holidays to crispy chicken bits and then to airborne peoples of the Low Countries. But, there is no point hiding it. I can’t seem to find the post now, but I once wrote a piece about Haruki Murakami’s wonderful short-story, The Fall Of The Roman Empire, The 1881 Indian Uprising, Hitler’s Invasion Of Poland, And The Realm Of Raging Winds. The story, not the un-locatable blog post, is about memory and the way our minds flit across details to form a coherent picture of the past based on seemingly disconnected bits of information. It is contained in the also excellent collection The Elephant Vanishes. If you have nothing else to do with your Sunday, and you are not tired of reading after having waded through all this nonsense, then I suggest picking it up. I can’t image anything that would suit the day better.
My apologies to my photo-blogging pal Chloe, who has an irrational fear of balloons.