Most unusual commercial tie-in

Once a year Les Schwab, a regional tire store chain, gives away free beef to those who buy tires. I haven’t actually seen what kind of beef they give away but I hear it’s given in plastic-sealed strips. Supposedly it started as a tribute to local ranchers. I still can’t figure out how that justifies linking beef with tires. What local businesses around your woods have unusual giveaways or promotions?

The strangest one I ever saw was a movie tie-in with Wendy’s in Japan. Movie tie-ins aren’t uncommon at all, just about every new kids movie or summer blockbuster gets pitched at fast food restaurants in some form or other.

But this wasn’t a summer blockbuster…

And it definitely wasn’t a kid’s movie…


Shakespeare’s Titus. In which the climactic scene is the title character slaughtering the two sons of his new wife (in revenge for them raping and mutilating his daughter), grinding their bodies up into little pieces, then cooking and serving them to their mother as a meat pie.

Being advertised at a hamburger restaurant.

Of course, I actually went out and rented the movie just to see if it had all the same scenes the play did, and that Wendy’s had actually sponsored what I thought they did, so in a twisted way I guess the advertising worked.

Man, I should go and check if Sweeny Todd is being advertised the same way. As popular as Johnny Depp is here, it may well be.

Some years ago, I worked at a place that made beverage “point of sale” displays. You know, those coolers you see full of ice and soda at the gas station, and shelves like this. The company was owned by a kind of crazy old guy who cooked up the following promotion: buy a certain number of one of the models, and we’ll throw in… A Big Mouth Billy Bass! Yes, what convenience or grocery store is complete without a singing plastic fish? What purchaser wouldn’t love to go back to, say, Kroger HQ, and tell his boss, “I got a pretty good deal on the display cases, but, and here’s the best part, I got a Billy Bass for my office!”

One of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen in any business.

About 7 years ago I needed new tires, and waited until February and got the free beef. They offered either summer sausage or frozen steak (they bring freezers into the stores every year). Cooked it up a couple months later, and surprisingly it wasn’t bad.

I and a friend have tried every year for the last 15 or so to be the first to wish each other “Happy Free Beef Days” on February 1st. Thanks for the reminder.