Every Friday during football season, Charlotte, North Carolina–based Bojangles’ feeds another neighboring enterprise, the Carolina Panthers. When the Southeast team headed westward to take on the Denver Broncos for Sunday’s Super Bowl game, Bojangles’ was determined to keep its Friday tradition and bring Legendary Iced Tea to the players and fans.
Although the regional brand enjoys a loyal legion of followers, its markets only extend as far north as Pennsylvania and as far West as Tennessee and Alabama, making for a tricky situation.
“Because we’ve fed the Panthers every Friday before their game this season, it just wouldn’t feel right for the Panthers to go out to California for the big game and not have Bojangles’,” says Colby Anderson, a social media and digital strategist for the brand.
A plan was hatched to send Anderson along with PR and media relations specialist Cliff Cermak across the country in a company SUV known as the Legendary Teamobile. Decked out with Bojangles’ and Panthers signage and filled with foam fingers, Koozies, and other brand goodies, Cermak and Anderson are live Tweeting their trip while making stops at university campuses and Bojangles’ stores along the way.
“Bojangles’ has been the official tailgate partner of the Carolina Panthers since 1996, which is really awesome; it’s such a longstanding and amazing partnership between two iconic brands of the South,” Cermak says. “For Colby and I to get this opportunity to drive across country … it’s kind of amazing. We’re actually doing this for our job for the week? It’s pretty incredible.”
Anderson adds that they want to bring fans and customers with them for the ride by following them at @Bojangles1977 on Twitter as they upload photos and news using the hashtag #Tea4PantherNation. Bojangles’ is also crowdsourcing songs for Cermak and Anderson’s Spotfiy playlist and soliciting suggestions for places to stop.
The pair embarked from Charlotte Monday and made stops in Georgia and Alabama; they even visited the University of Alabama and posed with the team’s 2015 NCAA football championship trophy.
Bad weather did affect some of Cermak and Anderson’s planned stops. Originally they had planned to take Interstate 40 all the way from North Carolina to California, but Winter Storm Kayla blocked their passage through the Middle Plains, so they swung further south.
The Legendary Teamobile made it as far as central Texas Tuesday and finished up Wednesday in New Mexico. The plan is to reach Santa Clara, California, Thursday night so they can be with the team and fans all day Friday.
“For a lot of Panthers fans that may be coming from the Carolinas or from the Southeast out to California for the game, we really thought it would be a neat for them to see Bojangles’ out there,” Cermak says. “We’ll be there all weekend long to celebrate with the fans and get everybody excited.”
By Nicole Duncan