Okay…This post is really going to make me sound like an art snob. And a food snob. But I FREAKIN’ CAN’T HELP IT! You can ask my wife. When we lived in Kansas City, every time I would drive by this place I would go nuts and start raising my voice, “Why? WHY?!!”
Go Chicken Go is a local, family owned fast food restaurant on Troost Avenue, near the UMKC and Rockhurst college campuses in midtown Kansas City, Missouri. First, allow me to say as many nice things about Go Chicken Go as I can think of: Ummm…I’ve never actually eaten there. Okay, let me start over. I heard that one of their distinctives is that they serve chicken livers and gizzards. (For people to eat.) Okay…let me try again. I’m extremely supportive of entrepreneurship and small business, and I think it’s great that some guys apparently turned a gas station into a restaurant. And right on Troost Avenue, which once was the unspoken boundary between the black part of town and the white part of town. And it’s a family business. More power to them! May God bless ‘em!
My only complaint is with their sign. Apparently it’s still there, though I haven’t personally seen it for over a decade. I know it’s probably unfair to judge a business by its sign, but really… this sign is a shining example of why people should hire graphic designers. I can’t believe these guys haven’t been sued yet.
Here’s a picture of the sign…
Am I the only one who thinks this? Is this not a clear depiction of the (copywrited) Warner Brothers Roadrunner cartoon character? There are so many things wrong with this that I hardly know where to start…
1) First, the roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico – a type of very athletic, very fast, predatory bird that chases down snakes and scorpions in the desert and eats them. If you live in the Midwest, and you open a restaurant that serves chicken and call it “Go Chicken Go”, putting a roadrunner on your sign is just bizarre. It’s like a neon sign flashing, “We are stupid and we don’t care!” Could they really not find a picture of a chicken? Or do they not know what a live chicken looks like? Or maybe they actually do serve roadrunner meat and gizzards, and simply got their own name wrong.
2) Calling a fast food restaurant that serves chicken, “Go Chicken Go,” is sadistic. It sounds like a taunt. Especially assuming these people are almost certainly not serving organically fed, cage free, hormone-free chickens. So the growth-hormone-injected, deformed, CAFO meat-chickens that they serve were never capable of “going” anywhere, even if given a head start. “Go, chicken, Go!…Bwah-hahahaha!” said the butcher, raising his meat cleaver…
3) No, it is not OK to use a famous Warner Brothers cartoon character as your business logo unless you pay out the wazoo for it, which I’m pretty sure these guys didn’t. I’m guessing the only reason the Warner Brothers legal team hasn’t served them up a legal notice is that 51rst and Troost isn’t the kind of neighborhood where WB people go to dine, so they aren’t aware that someone is ripping their property.
4) Even if they innocently stole a WB cartoon character for their sign, they should have at least illegally appropriated Foghorn Leghorn, because he is at least a chicken, and has some meat on him. Or even Daffy Duck, since he is at least a type of bird that people actually eat. Or even the Coyote or Elmer Fudd, since they might presumably chase a chicken. Even little Porky Pig. But the Roadrunner… WHY?!!!.
5) The Roadrunner is badly drawn.
I’ve tried to think of excuses for these guys. I’ve pictured them sitting around during the early days, brainstorming:
“Ok man…now we need a logo.”
“Right… Dude!…I know! Let’s use the Roadrunner!”
“AW DUDE! That is an awesome idea! That would be perfect, because…” (Here I must interrupt myself.)
Because why? I come up empty. Somehow this little exercise didn’t help me at all. I will even admit that the WB roadrunner looks nothing like a real roadrunner; but neither does it look anything like a chicken. And, besides, lest anyone be confused, the WB roadrunner’s name is “Roadrunner.”
Thank you for indulging me. I’ve been holding this in for probably 20 years, and I feel much better now. Now I can get back to focusing on things that matter. This brief, introductory graphic design lesson was presented free of charge from me to you.
To the restaurant owners:
I love you and I don’t think you’re stupid – I just had to get this off my chest. You know what they say: there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Maybe you can turn this all to your advantage somehow. Take heart – even the big guys occasionally make terrible marketing decisions. For instance, McDonald’s recently introduced a new product called the “McWrap.” (‘Sounds exactly like “McCrap.”) Anyway, to make up for my rant, I’ve unsnobbishly submitted a rough concept for a new Go Chicken Go logo, in case you want to avoid a potential lawsuit with Warner Brothers. I unsnobbishly offer this to you free of charge…
Thanks to Kathy Alongi for sending me a current photo of the Go Chicken Go sign, confirming that it has not, in fact, been redesigned.