OK, this “Dilly Dilly” thing has officially gone a step too far.
And, it figures, Jim Morpeth would be the man who walked it over the cliff.
The man who has been hawking barbecue and sweet tea for more than 43 years on the banks of the Chattahoochee River is now using the latest cultural catch phrase to sell pickles.
You gotta be kidding!
“Nope,” Morpeth said from somewhere far, far away where he doesn’t have to watch the commercial that is running what seems like nonstop on local television.
Surely, Morpeth has to be worried that the good folks at Budweiser in St. Louis are going to show up at the Mercury Drive Country’s in Columbus with a cease and desist order.
“Nope,” he said.
Budweiser, using a town crier, sent a Minnesota craft brewer earlier this year a cease and desist message after Modist Brewing created a beer called “Dilly Dilly.” No such message has showed up in Columbus, and Morpeth doesn’t expect one.
“When Budweiser did it, they were riding on the coattails of ‘Game of Thrones,’” Morpeth said. “I don’t suspect they will have any problem with this. Everybody is riding on somebody’s coattails in this deal.”
So, Morpeth is not the least bit concerned about ending up in the Pit of Misery even though a few of his customers have expressed their displeasure with the mocking of a beer commercial.
“A few of them have come up and said they are not eating with us any more,” he said. “But it has only been a few.”
Country’s didn’t stop with just the commercial. The fried pickles, long skinny slices instead of short fat, round ones, are listed as “Dilly Dilly” on the menu.
But Country’s campaign, Morpeth’s brainchild with the tweaking of Becky Bassett and several of his employees, is actually selling the pickles, Southern fried, of course.
“Dilly dilly” has become the “Where’s the beef?” of its generation and is being used in a medieval-themed commercial to sell Bud Light. Morpeth chose not to use costumes from the Middle Ages and instead did it the way they do business at Country’s, in jeans and T-shirts.
“We thought about it, but honestly, I didn’t think we could pull it off,” Morpeth said.
Anyway, you better enjoy the knockoff commercial while you can. It started last month and Morpeth said he will pull it sooner rather than later, a trademark of most of his commercials — except the holiday ham and turkey spot that has been running for three decades. Here today and gone tomorrow.
And another thing: Jim’s crazy like a fox. And at 74, he’s a pretty old fox.
So, you selling any fried pickles?
“Yep,” he said. “We’ve sold a ton of pickles.”
At $4.95 a plate — before tax — there’s only one thing you can say.