Help Me Solve a Marketing Mystery


I understand odd combinations. I don’t understand what people sometimes do with odd combinations.

Part of my job involved running Persuasive Design Labs™. These labs help people in big companies design much, much more effective motivation, incentive, and loyalty marketing programs by building for the people in the programs instead of for the brand.

One of our techniques involves rapid-fire idea generation by combining odd things, like television sitcoms and new participants to the program. (It really works.)

What we don’t do is bring the raw ideas to market. We filter and add to them. We combine concepts into higher-order ideas. And we test the concepts.

But if we did just bring the raw ideas to market, we might have come up with this remarkable new product: Fried Chicken and Waffles.

Is your mouth watering? (My mouth waters when I’m about to puke, too.)


Look at the picture on the front. A fried chicken drumstick (good) and a stack of waffles with maple syrup and butter (good).  So what’s not to like?


Who would eat that? To be honest, I had to try them. And they’re terrible. Like when you’re expecting to taste cold vanilla ice cream and it’s actually mashed potatoes. It tasted so bad I got a headache. And nothing smelled right for a couple hours.  (Actually, everything smelled like maple syrup. And chicken.)

Better yet, how did this bag get into my house? (That’s the really frightening question that I’m afraid to ask around here.)

If you’re a big chicken and waffle potato chip fan, I’d love to hear your story. Please comment.

And if you have any idea how this concept got to market—or into my house—please let me know.

2 thoughts on “Help Me Solve a Marketing Mystery”

  1. Chicken and waffles is a soul food combination popular in specific regions (the most popular of which is Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles in California and featured in a number of movies and TV shows)–the idea behind it (I’d guess) is that they share ingredients: the flour, egg, milk used in waffle-making is also used in fried chicken batter. Not a great guess, but I’ll go with it for now.

    Personally, I prefer my fried chicken savory, not sweet, with some homemade sawmill gravy. :)

    And for the record, these chips do taste absolutely awful. :)

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