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Mon, Jun 30, 2008

Mobile, AL Business Expresses Sentiment Of Community

Chicken Place Offers Boeing "A Finger"... You Can Guess Which One

As the KC-X quagmire continues to play out, the ad campaign for a Mobile, AL chicken restaurant has struck a chord with residents hoping a Northrop/EADS contract win would mean jobs for their city.


The slogan, advertising four Foosackly's Chicken Fingers restaurants in the city, suggests "We would like to offer Boeing a finger," reports The Seattle Times. That statement, of course, refers to Boeing's protest of Northrop's February 29 win in the US Air Force KC-X contract for a new aerial refueling tanker.

As ANN reported, that protest was subsequently upheld by the Government Accountability Office -- which ruled the Air Force erred greatly in determining the Northrop/EADS KC-330 (renamed the KC-45A with the win) was the more efficient choice over the smaller Boeing KC-767. That decision has put Northrop's win at great risk... and casts doubt on whether Mobile will ever see the 1,500 aerospace jobs promised by the new contract.

Enter Will Fusaiotti.... who initially wrote the "finger" slogan on a menu board in one of his restaurants. Customer response was so great, he soon paid for the 48-foot digital billboard sign alongside I-65, and he's been deluged with requests for bumper stickers and T-shirts sporting the arguably off-color slogan.

Those requests include orders from e-mail addresses, he added.

"It has taken on a life of its own," Fusaiotti said last week. "I got a request for 800 bumper stickers from one place -- I don't know if I can meet that. We printed 60 shirts and went through those yesterday, and we printed 300 today," he said last week.

While the ad campaign has tapped into the local zeitgeist, however, it hasn't served its original purpose... which was to sell more chicken.

"Our business has been about the same," Fusaiotti said.


Meanwhile, those in Mobile hope the Air Force sticks to its guns in keeping the KC-X contract in Northrop's hands. The city recently went ahead with a Mardi Gras-themed parade, celebrating recent economic upswings in the city of 150,000 people. In addition to the hoped-for Northrop work, a ThyssenKrupp steel plant recently opened in the city, and the local shipyard has expanded to handle additional business.

"It's kind of a new age in Mobile," Fusaiotti said. "There's a lot to look forward to" -- even if KC-X doesn't swing their way, he added.

FMI: Buy The T-Shirt!,,,


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