Pal’s Sudden Service became one of the first restaurant chains in the country to sign a major college player as a brand ambassador. John Fulkerson, a 6’9” forward for the University of Tennessee’s basketball team will support the Pal’s brand under a one-year agreement. The announcement was made at Pal’s first iconic restaurant that opened in 1956.
“John has been a Pal’s fan for life and has become a legendary player at Tennessee,” says Adam Crosby, Pal’s Chief Operating Officer. “I believe he will grow our brand awareness and good will like he sinks field goals on the court.” In the 2020–21 season, Fulkerson led the team in field goal percentage and was the team’s second leading rebounder.
“I grew up in Kingsport where the Pal’s brand was born, with one of their restaurants about a mile from my home,” says Fulkerson. “I crave their food and have admired the way they delight their customers all my life. Today is really a dream come true.”
Known by his fans as “Fulky”, the basketball start has more than 19,000 Instagram and nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter. The partnership between Pal's and Fulkerson comes as part of a new policy by the NCAA that allows student athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness which went into effect on Thursday, July 1st of this year. During the NCAA men's basketball tournament this in 2021, John mentioned he'd bought plenty of Pal's famous "Frenchie Fries" to help him prepare for their opening game.
Fulkerson’s role as brand ambassador will see him share his thoughts and experiences as a Pal’s loyal customer, endorse Pal’s menu items, and recruit others to join the Pal’s team as an employee.
“John has demonstrated exceptional character during his college career,” says Crosby. “Our brand is about delighting our customers and his enthusiastic love for Pal’s is authentic and appreciated. We look forward to the relationship.”
Fulky traded his college uniform for one worn by Pal’s employees recently and served customers, built a Big Pal burger and hot dogs and crafted shakes. During his tenure as a Pal’s brand ambassador, he will make personal appearances, work at Pal’s restaurants serving customers and support the brand through social media and youth sports.