Quite a Pickle

FOB-Quite a Pickle-Spicy Pickle billboard"Geh churba tinheer," "Doned beeyan id eeyot," and "Fud fors mahrt peah pal" are three of nine new billboards puzzling drivers across Denver. The campaign is for the Spicy Pickle sandwich chain and launched last month in the mile-high city, where 15 of the chain's 37 outlets are located and will expand nationwide later this year. Translated, the billboards read: "Get your butt in here (our artisan breads are waiting for you)," "Don't be an idiot (let us cater it for you)," and "Food for smart people (you don't have to understand, the flavor speaks for itself)."

Media columnist Gregg Cebrzynski is skeptical of the promotion's ability to increase sales. "When I crave a sandwich, I haul my butt to the nearest sandwich shop, not to the one whose billboards mystified me." The microsite,, features a sarcastic, condescending "professor" who schools visitors in the wordplay and allows them to send their own garbled slogans to friends. It features one button that says "I Give Up."

What some may call frustrating, Spicy Pickle, of course, calls brilliant.

"This campaign speaks our language in every sense of the term. It looks at words differently, just as we look at sandwiches differently. And it has the same sense of fun that we try to instill in everything from our menu to the ambience of our restaurants," says Tony Walker, cofounder and chief operating officer of Spicy Pickle. The question is whether the billboards, developed by Denver-based HIM Creative and "designed to capture extra-long looks," have yet activated any sales - or deployed airbags.
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