That’s right. Today only (7/9/10) Chick-fil-A is giving out free combo meals to all customers who come in dressed as cows from head-t0-toe. Even those who don’t come in completely dressed as a cow can get a free gift just by wearing a cow hat or cow sign. And Chick-fil-A really owes it to those cows. According to their website, the “Eat More Chicken” campaign using cows started as a single billboard way back in 1985. Today, the cows are everywhere from billboards to radio to TV. Chick-fil-A owes these award-winning cows big time and they sure paid them back today.
I work in marketing and I love great marketing campaigns and clever advertisements. No one can deny that after 25 years and still going strong, the “Eat More Chicken” cow campaign is a true American classic. Of course, it helps to have a great food product backing up this great ad campaign. And Chick-fil-A delivers there as well. If you remember my Top 5 Best and Worst Chicken Sandwiches, you would know that the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich came in at #2 on my Best List. (And only because it had more sodium than the #1 pick. It’s actually #1 with me in taste.)
So I anxiously awaited for the end of the day where I could don my Cow costume and get my free combo meal. Luckily, I had an old cow costume stashed away in my closet and since I recently cleaned out and organized my closet (a one every ten years task), I knew exactly where it was. Since it was missing the head piece, I printed out some cow ears and a Eat More Chicken sign I was able to get from Chick-fil-A’s website. I taped the ears to my eyeglasses and slipped on the cow costume, udders and all. I was ready.
I peered out the side door and figured I had a 6-foot dash to make it to the car unseen. As I peered up the street, I could see a small group of teenagers huddled on the curb about 5 houses up. I unlocked the car (thank heaven for remote entry) and flew out of the door and into the car. I started her up and immediately turned the ac on full blast. Whew! I made it and no one saw me. As I readied to back out of my driveway, I realized I didn’t have my sign taped to me. Grrrr. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it all the way.
Checking that the teenagers were still huddled far enough away, doing whatever it is teenagers do when they huddle, I flew back into the house. Of course, I stumbled with the keys but I finally got the door open and I ran inside. Standing in the dining room huffing and puffing (I”m fat now so it doesn’t take much to get me to huff and puff), I eyed up the sign and taped it to my chest above my udders. I returned to the side door preparing to make my third dash of the evening.
Safely in my car, I pulled out of my driveway and headed off to the Chick-fil-a that was less than 5 minutes from my house. As I headed towards the first stop sign, I heard the familiar “toot-toot” of the train. I half way turned onto the street behind the first car waiting to cross the tracks. Within seconds, several other cars appeared out of nowhere and they all seemed to want to be where I was. As I looked up, two 20-somethings were waiting for the train. And EVERYONE was looking at me. In my cow costume. With my paper ears flapping in the car’s ac. So much for sneaking out unseen.
Finally the train passed and within a few minutes I was pulling into the Chick-fil-A parking lot, which was mobbed. Naturally, the only parking space was the farthest away and I had to cross the entire lot to reach the front door. As I got out of the car, I could see a couple of kids with cow hats on. Okay, so at least someone has some sort of cow costume on, even if it is only a couple of 8 year-olds. As I crossed over to the sidewalk, two guys in a pick-up truck passed me and one yelled out, “I’ll take a steak,” and the other one hollered, “Make mine rare!”
As I entered the store, I was greeted with a few surprised and somewhat cautious looks from some of the other customers. I saw a couple kids with cow hats and not much more, but then I spied a table of 3 teenage boys. They had spots taped all over their clothes and signs on their backs that said, “Yes, I am a cow.” Teenage boys know the value of free combo meals.
The manager, or someone who looked manager-ish, came over to me and said, “Now that’s a cow,” and he gestured to his camera. I made my best cow pose and he snapped the shot. I got in line thinking that my picture was somehow going to end up on some great cow wall of fame with all the other great cows hungering for their free chicken sandwiches. I sauntered up to the girl behind the counter and she said, “Hi. How can I help you?” I replied, “Moo.” She smiled and send that I could pick any combo meal from the menu for free. Of course, I went for the best, the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich with waffle fries and a diet soda. Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm.
As I was waiting for my meal, a guy next to me looked me up and down and said, “Your costume’s dirty.” I did a quick look and decided that it was kinda, sorta dirty. “This thing’s been hidden in my closet for ten years,” I replied. “I’m lucky I found it.” He chuckled but what I really wanted to say was, “I may be dirty but I’m getting a free combo meal and you have to pay for your food. So there!” But thinking about it was satisfying enough and within moments I had my meal in my hand.
As I headed out, I grabbed a random employee and asked him to take a picture of me with my free combo meal. He obliged and I quickly headed off to my car with my free booty in hand. Now that I had been on display in the Chick-fil-A store and survived the experience, I no longer seemed worried if anyone else saw me. Within moments I was home and out of my costume. I quickly unwrapped my booty and dug right into my Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich. It was warm and juicy and put together just right, with crisp lettuce, red tomatoes and that infamous pickle. Yum!
Nobody makes a chicken sandwich better than Chick-fil-A. And it was even doubly better because it was FREE. So if you still have time tonight, put on your cow and go get your free combo meal. And even if you don’t wanna dress up, go out and buy one anyway. It’s worth it free or not.