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Pfeiffer: Eat More Birds

12/01/11 7:55AM By Bryan Pfeiffer
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(Host) A tiny T-shirt maker has ruffled the feathers of a fast-food giant - causing naturalist and commentator Bryan Pfeiffer to have some thoughts on birds, leafy green vegetables ... and a marketing opportunity.

(Pfeiffer) I need a new marketing slogan. And I think it might be Eat More Birds.

I guide birdwatching trips. No, we don’t eat birds on my outings. We watch birds. You know, ecotourism. But I’m considering the new slogan because Chick-fil-A, whose slogan is EAT MOR CHIKIN, is threatening another Vermonter.

Bo Muller-Moore has built a tiny business around the slogan Eat More Kale. Bo prints T-shirts by hand that say, Eat More Kale. He also puts the slogans on little green stickers. Chick-fil-A wants to put Bo out of business.

Kale versus chicken. I guess Chick-fil-A can’t tell the difference between its paltry poultry and a nutritious, leafy plant. My slogan would be easier to confuse with chicken. But that’s the point – and why I like Eat More Birds.

I think it would be great for business – my business – if Chick-fil-A would take me to court. David versus Goliath. Nature Boy versus the Chicken Man. Think of the free advertising.

It worked for Ben & Jerry's when they went up against Pillsbury over ice cream distribution in Boston . Remember? "What’s the Doughboy afraid of?"

It worked for Rock Art Brewery when its Vermonster beer annoyed Hansen Beverage Company, which makes Monster energy drinks.

I hope it works for Bo and his Eat More Kale T-shirts.

And maybe it would work for me. If I did battle with Chick-fil-A, maybe Patrick Leahy would take up my cause in the U.S. Senate. Maybe my Eat More Birds campaign would get me lots of Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

For that matter, why stop with chicken? I could turn my battle with big business into a cottage industry. Think of the slogans:

“I’d walk a mile for a warbler.”

“Ducks are forever.”

“This bird’s for you.”

“Please don’t squeeze the chickadee.”

Yeah, lawsuits are a gamble, but I’m betting on the free marketing.

What’s really at stake here, of course, is power. Chick-fil-A and its ilk already dominate our landscape with their logos and slogans. They buy naming rights to stadiums and bowl games. They’ve infiltrated our sacred national parks. Their billboards blight most of the nation. They overwhelm our mass media. And with a gusher of campaign money, they’ve purchased a majority stake in our government and undermined our democracy.

But that’s not enough. Now they’re going after the little guy. They’re going after Bo and his hand-made T-shirts. It’s hard enough to make a living in small business. Hey, I should know. I scrape together an income as a nature guide and a writer. It’s even tougher when you’ve got corporate America laying an egg in your home office.

So, yeah, I might go with the slogan Eat More Birds. Come and get me, Chik-fil-A. What’s the Chicken Man afraid of?

Oh, by the way, the advertising people at Chick-fil-A might need a lawyer of their own. The company’s web site for its EAT MOR CHIKIN campaign, which uses cows to promote chicken, features videos on a network that the Chick-fil-A calls “MooTube.”

Google, which owns YouTube, oughta pluck ‘em for that.
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