Thur update: Marketing coup, new riverfront cleanup group/meetup, Breakaway Bardog 5K, Romanian gymnasts, Thursday events, Barton signs endorsement deal

Before I start with the news, I want to say something about the Chick-Fil-A controversy that happened yesterday. I think this is the most brilliant marketing campaign since Coca-Cola introduced New Coke in 1985. True, they alienated 50% of the public, but the other 50% came out and supported them like never before, and also put the company name all over social media. Even those who who vehemently opposed Chick-Fil-A were putting the company name out there. I’d estimate one in about every seven tweets I saw yesterday was about the company. You can’t buy exposure like that for any price.

I’m not saying I agree with Chick-Fil-A’s stance, by the way. I think their food is mediocre and I support gay marriage. From a publicity and marketing standpoint, however, what they did was remarkable.

A new group called the Mississippi River Chapter of the Surfrider foundation will hold its first event tomorrow, Friday, August 3. It will be a meet & greet and riverfront cleanup at 6 PM, with the statue in Tom Lee Park as the gathering spot. This group got its start when several people were walking around Tom Lee Park during BBQ Fest and noticed the amount of trash accumulating on our waterfront. They were saddened that the trash detracted from Memphis’ beauty during an event that draws so many tourists to town. Later they also noticed the trash on the cobblestones, and trash that accumulates on the waterfront after rain storms. They decided to take action. Several of the group are from San Diego, and having seen the success of the grassroots Surfrider Foundation there, they decided to start a Memphis chapter. At the meet & greet/cleanup tomorrow, they’ll have all the needed equipment, plus refreshments and good times.

The Breakaway Bardog 5K is only 17 days away, but there’s still time to register. The run through historic Downtown Memphis will start at Bardog at 9 AM Sunday, August 19, and money raised will benefit St. Jude. First 350 to register get T-shirts and beer mugs. After the race, stick around for Bardog’s 4th birthday party.

Time Magazine posted a list of twenty gymnasts to watch during the women’s individual events this week. Note that three of the gymnasts are from Romania.

Time for Thursday night outdoor party roundup. Kid Ego plays the Peabody rooftop tonight, with sepcial guest DJ Hollywood Raiford. 6-11 PM, ladies free before 7, $10 cover includes your first drink. This is the third-to-last rooftop party of the season.

One of the last authentic juke-joint bands, the Daddy Mack Blues Band, will bring a down-home feel to the Madison rooftop tonight. 7-11 PM, $7 cover, cash bar and small plates available.

Parmalee plays the Rebel on Beale country concert series tonight at Handy Park, corner of Third and Beale. All ages, free to get in, starts at 7:30.

In other Thursday events, the Orpheum is showing Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid as part of its Summer Movie Series tonight at 7:15. $7 adults, $6 kids.

It’s National IPA Day. Several IPAs on Fire Sale at the Flying Saucer. Also, 8 Green Flash beers will be on tap today.

Sports trivia with Kevin Cerrito starts at 8 at the Green Beetle. They’ll have a special on buckets of 16-ounce Miller Lite punch-top cans.

Former Memphis Tiger Will Barton has signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Under Armour. Barton was the Tigers’ star last season and entered the NBA draft as a sophomore. He will play for the Portland Trail Blazers this year. Way to make that money Will! You deserve it!

Programming note for this weekend… I’m going to skip my usual Saturday noon appointment at Panda’s bar at Bardog. The reason for this is that I have a wedding reception to go to at 6 that evening, and out of respect for my friends I’d prefer not to show up absolutely trashed. (On the other hand, I don’t see the point in showing up absolutely sober either, so I’ll probably pre-game at the Saucer around 4:30. After all, it’s on the way to the reception.)

Last night I couldn’t decide whether to go to bingo at Brass Door or trivia at Blind Bear… so I went to the Saucer, where I could drink beer until I made up my mind. I finished my 50th beer toward my 7th plate. That means when I swipe my card at the UFO computer tonight, there will be a $5 bar tab waiting for me as a milestone prize. After giving it some thought, I decided trivia at the Bear was the way to go. We had our largest team to date, and won the first-place prize of $50 in Bear Bucks.

It’s election day and I’m casting my vote for more tube tops! I’ll be out enjoying discount IPAs after work.