Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Who is that masked jokester?

Jon Stewart draws millions of viewers with his nightly lampooning of major-media news broadcasts. Now someone is borrowing that “Daily Show” approach to take a satirical look at developments in the restaurant industry, with some fun poked at Nation’s Restaurant News in the process.

The question is, who’s doing it? As you’ll see by visiting http://www.foodchainmonthdaily.com, the presenter has invested a fair amount of time in creating what purports to be a new industry e-letter, Food Chain Monthly (“Fake Insight For Restaurant Executives,” reads the positioning line under the title). He, she or they also clearly know the business and how it’s been covered on the pages of NRN.

We learned of it from an anonymous e-mail. I’ve asked the author(s?) to tip their mask, but I’ve yet to field a response.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the first installment. You can read about how KFC is shielding itself from the possible fallout of avian flu by removing the “C” from its name and rechristening itself KF.

Readers also learn that Jack, the cue-ball-headed star of Jack in the Box commercials, suspects his wife is fooling around with The King mascot from Burger King’s spots. We also learn that the wife of Popeye’s director of menu development is sick of hearing about exciting new dipping sauces.

Also included in the premier edition is a story about IHOP franchisees’ inability to agree on the impact of a new ad strategy. Gathered for their annual meeting, they shifted their energies instead to an argument about napkin vendors.

The slice of sarcasm is a direct take-off on an NRN item written by marketing editor Gregg Cebrzynski, who also authors our Ad Watcher blog. He wrote an article some time ago about IHOP franchisees reaching a consensus on an ad effort.

The lampooning in that and other blurbs is more humorous than abrasive, and the e-letter does sport some wonderfully surreal touches. The closing article is headlined, “Exhaustive Three Month QSR Research Project Confirms ‘Bacon is Delicious’.”

A disclaimer carefully spells out who is not behind the venture: The e-letter and the website that houses “is in no way associated with Chain Leader magazine or its various associated publications,” says the teensy-weensy type at the end.

Doest it protest too much?

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