Chicken Sales Nuggets

Companies hire political strategists to market products – including, in this writer's imagination, chicken in the shape of presidential faces.

News item: Political veterans are bringing their sophisticated campaign techniques into the corporate world, reports The Wall Street Journal. That's because the best political marketers may now be as good as – or even better than – top business strategists, due to the high pressure and high stakes of elections.

Political consultants have proved particularly adept at homing in on the emotions that motivate people, says the Journal, including both positive feelings, such as pride, and negative ones, such as fear.

To: Buck Bakaw Poultry Inc.

From: Ballot Boys Marketing

Re: Proposed Campaign for New Patriot Chicken Product

First, just let me say that we here at Ballot Boys could not be more excited about selling chicken patties shaped in the silhouettes of the Founding Fathers! Why hasn't this been done before? Somewhere Alexander Hamilton is smiling.

We agree that Patriot Patties are a natural for the school market. History and lunch in the same period – what a concept! One suggestion: In the stacker pack, include napkins imprinted with the Bill of Rights. Kids won't read them, but it will make parents – particularly vegetarian ones – feel better about choosing Patriot Patties.

Now the bad news: Our pollster Dick Morris found that the public approval rating of novelty compressed protein is low. Asked which word they associated with Buck Bakaw chicken, only 17 percent of respondents picked "food," while a plurality of 43 percent said "flooring." Furthermore, when asked how they would feel if served Patriot Patties at a dinner party, 56 percent chose "like moving to Canada." Other responses generally referenced the initiation of litigation.

But we found opportunity: According to Mr. Morris, fully 66 percent of those polled believed their lunch habits to be "on the wrong track." That means there is widespread discontent with the nosh status quo.

So here's our pitch: Position Patriot Patties as "The Chicken of Change!" Convince voters – whoops, consumers – that abandoning taco salads and eating a flash-fried Abraham Lincoln is the first step on the road to low gas prices and peace in Iraq.

We see TV spots that open with a wheat field at sunrise and rippling flags and Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man." That's followed by a shot of Mount Vernon, where a tour group of Eagle Scouts is having Patriot Patties for lunch.

George Washington himself appears (on horseback) and salutes the scouts' nutritional choice. "That's taste that's truly Constitutional!" he says. Then he picks up a Jefferson patty and throws it across the Potomac.

Other ads might open with the screeching shower-scene music from "Psycho." Then a tuna sandwich, say, could spin into focus. "North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Il eats tuna every day for lunch," a deep-voiced narrator could intone. "Is tuna involved in nuclear proliferation?"

Also, our Web team says they're ready to start an Internet rumor saying that lab tests have linked hamburger consumption with baldness. They're just waiting for your OK.

So let's move! And as to your visit here last week, we apologize for the sushi lunch. As punishment, the staffer responsible has been reassigned to the Biden campaign.

• Peter Grier is a staff writer in the Monitor's Washington bureau.

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