Fast Food Friday – McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich

August 28th, 2015 No comments

Commercial Description
A tender, juicy, filet made with 100% chicken breast meat, real buttermilk and no artificial colors. Plus fresh tomato, crisp leaf lettuce and mayonnaise. All atop our delectable artisan roll.

Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich Nutritional Facts

Spoon’s Thoughts
Buttermilk Crispy Chicken SandwichMcDonald’s buns have been a huge upgrade over the past year and I’d say the best in fast food. The chicken had a slight crunch and was juicier than I expected but I couldn’t tell if any buttermilk was actually used. The texture was similar to original crispy KFC chicken but the flavor came in around the bland and boring mark. I might consider buying another one but the execution of the sandwich was also poor. Barely a dab of mayo, tomato tasted frozen and lettuce was stale. There wasn’t anything to get excited about.

What could make this better? Actually put mayo on it, add BACON and/or thick cut pickle chips.

The Marketing
I had zero interest in trying the sandwich (mostly because of the buttermilk/don’t give me lactose thing) until I received an email promoting the sandwich. I work in digital marketing and have been researching what the major brands are working on these days so I decided to check it out. What I saw made me scratch my head.

When you click through to the website you’re greeted by a gallery of animated gifs. That’s the trendy thing right now so why not. The gifs should start playing on mouse over, instead you have to click on the image and wait for it to load. People are very forgiving about video quality if server load is an issue for you. Your customers just want to have a good experience.

Once the gif does start there are options to share (Hooray! Sharing!). Hey that’s great but you’re not sharing the image, you’re sharing a link to the page which you then have to click again to get the gif to load. There should be an option, especially for Twitter, to let you share the image in your feed or download it so you can post it. Giphy is how this gallery should be.

How do you tell your super fans from the shares? From a tracking standpoint on multiple machines I didn’t see the short link change. This would be a good way to see who your power users are. I know from what I’ve worked on this is easier said than done so I’ll let it slide. There’s no hashtag though so you need to find a way to filter the pre-written tweets to profiles. Radian 6, HubSpot, Hootsuite Enterprise or Adobe Social should have a way to do that.

The TV/web commercial is also on the page. I dig the woman who’s out talking to the crowd. She has a very energetic attitude like most vendors I visit and given the reactions I’ll look past the possible plants but it’s the messaging that I have a problem with. If I was a food truck vendor and I found out McDonald’s was there trying to fit in, I’d be pissed. Honestly the quality of a few menu items would win in a blind tasting but knowing how it’s usually a mom and pop operation running a truck fighting to get exposure for their business, a corporation coming in undercover doesn’t sit well with me.

The mobile experience is… well… less than glamorous. You’re sent to a page with ads and a scrolling banner. If you’re fast enough to tap the Buttermilk Chicken image you’re taken to a brief overview that does nothing to wow you. Let’s be real here, no one is going to look at boring content from their phone and make a decision. If you’re on MyFitnessPal you *MIGHT* take the nutritional value into consideration but overall, this could have been better.

Final Thoughts
Sandwich was good but not a “OMG you know what I could go for right now…” good. It’s a spur of the moment decision when the kids are screaming and you need to eat.

Categories: Fast Food Friday, Food

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review crossed the line

August 27th, 2015 No comments

There are countless times when I’ve said I would quit/unsubscribe from a publication because of something they printed and never did. I’d cool off, say eff it and move on but this morning I couldn’t. I was pissed when I opened up the Pittsburgh Trib.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review 082715That photo is the moment before reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward of Virginia-based WDBJ-TV were executed by Vester Flanagan during a live TV report.

There are so many ways this story could have ran and the Trib decided to go with the view from the gunman which he broadcasted to the internet. You could have used just the profile pictures of the two journalists and made your point but no, you had to sink this low.

I’m absolutely disgusted by this move. I tried to hold onto my subscription because there are a handful of really good reporters there but this was too much. I called this morning and broke up with the Trip. Told them to keep whatever I still had left and take me off all future calls.

This isn’t a post to be all “oh look it me. I’m doing something *hrumph*!” it’s to say, what the bloody hell. I know click bait and “shock” sells and you need to make money but there are sites like TMZ who should deal with the trash, not the local newspaper. Journalists and reporters nationwide asked that people on Twitter not to watch the video and here you are eating up your own kind. I was in a seminar this past spring where I heard a Trib employee say “it’s about the clicks” (which is pretty much why they keep Rossi around). Now I see that it’s true.

UGH I’m so frustrated. You can’t just get straight up news anymore. It has to be right or left wing and be a SHOCK piece to make people go *BLOOP BLOOP BLOOP* crazy insane and fear the world. No wonder everyone is on edge. You’re now the equivalent to those “What happens next will amaze you” website ads.

Categories: Pittsburgh

R.I.P. Kevin and Bob – The Derda Fish. A Father’s Journey Into Pets

August 13th, 2015 1 comment

Oh we barely knew ye but the amount of joy you brought to our boys could never be measured. You were an inspiration to all of us in the Derda family even though your time with us was short… in fact you guys didn’t even make it 24hours.

Wait, can I get some kind of refund here?

Kevin and Bob - The Derda Fish

Everyone knows that goldfish from a church festival never last more than a few days and I expected that out of Kevin but Bob, WTF dude?

Monday night when I get home from work the fishies were swimming, the kids were singing, rainbows and unicorns were everywhere. Ahhh the life of an awesome dad.

Wait, what’s that horrendous screeching?

My kids are wailing “OMFG WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR FISH?!?!” “WHY GOD? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?” from the living room. (OK maybe that was a little dramatic on my end but still.)

The kids got their first lesson on death, pets and expectations you should set when you win a fish at a game that is $1 for 7 ping pong balls. What I didn’t expect was that a trained professional at a pet store would lead us down the path of eternal sleep.

Shortly after we promised the boys their friends would have a proper burial in the “porcelain chute to Heaven” (thank God they don’t think EVERYTHING we flush goes up) we headed to Petsmart in Bethel Park to see what we could do. I’m not comfortable going into stores where I have to deal with salespeople on topics I don’t know about but the staff was absolutely amazing and patient while the 2 grieving wiener kids ran around trying to convince me to buy a shark.

Yes, a shark.  Didn’t happen.

Since we’ve never owned fish the young lady spent time explaining that you couldn’t “Just pour tap water and dump them in. They can handle it.” like the previous store did, she talked to me about testing the water, what types of treatment we need and which fish are compatible together. Apparently they have gangs like the Jets and the Sharks.

At the end of the night we walked out with 2 new Tetras, a better understanding of fish/water ratio and what to look for. If you’re keeping score at home, the $1.00 spent to win the original fish ended up costing us $57 to date.

Once the little guys grow you can stop over and say hello to our new family members, Speedy and Bob the Fast Fish.


Categories: Family, Fatherhood

Weekend in Erie – Part 2 – Polka, festival and new family

August 12th, 2015 No comments

St James Festival - Pony RideIt started with the family going to a polka mass at my old parish, which my mom is still an active member in. I go there maybe once a year because mom likes when we’re all together but she also like to sit up front which is a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s cool though because I end up seeing parents of friends and people who still pinch my cheeks and tell me they knew me as a baby. My dad was the head of ushers, my mom was in the choir and my brother and I were both altar boys. Everyone was involved in the parish.

The parish festival was in its final day and part of that tradition is a turkey dinner. Turkey in August? Yeah you might think that’s crazy but the meal is good. REALLY good! We walk around so the kids can play games, dad can play Bingo and while the size of the festival has diminished over the years it really is a stellar place to go. That was until we got to The Fish Pond.

I worked the festival in various roles from grade school until I left for college. You can ask any alumni since the early days and they’ll tell you the same, the fish will die by the time you get them home. I never knew anything about fish. I don’t care about fish. Damn the fis… oh hey son, you want to win a fish? Sure go for it!

$1 for 7 balls so I figured I was safe. Apparently Teaspoon has the beer pong skills of his old man and nailed it. Unfortunately he couldn’t repeat the feat so I have 1 kid with a fish and 1 without. Know what that means? We’re going to the fish store.

After packing up and saying goodbye to my mom we went to a local pet store to now buy a fish for Cheeseburger and a fish tank. $40 later we leave and head back to Pittsburgh with our new family members.

Ladies and gentlemen, Kevin and Bob.

Kevin and Bob - The Derda Fish

Here are pics from the rest of the day.

Did you miss out on part 1 of our weekend adventure in Erie? Check out Swimming in greatness!

Categories: Erie, Family, Fatherhood, Food

Weekend in Erie – Part 1 – Swimming in greatness

August 12th, 2015 No comments

Growing up in Erie it was always easy to spot the tourists at Presque Isle, they were the only people swimming in the lake. I guess this could be said for any native in a tourist hot spot but going back now with a family I have a new appreciation for the beach.

Feet in the water at Presque IsleLast Saturday I took the family on a quick weekend trip to Erie. If you’re in Pittsburgh the journey up I-79 really is fast. You can be there in 2.5 hours and the drive flies by as you watch the Steel City skyline turn into beautiful country driving, errr just with an interstate running through it.

When I lived in Erie the place to be was Beach 6. This was the home of sand volleyball tournaments, best concession stand on the peninsula and where the good looking people hang out. If you’re a teenager or single person, this is your reality TV show. Married dude in his 30’s with 2 kids, ummm yeeeaaaahhh we scooted down to Beach 7/Water Works a.k.a. the “family beach”.

If you’re a family traveling up there, here is why you’ll love this spot.

  1. Affordable large cabins for rent if you’re having a gathering. We’re talking 50-100 people.
  2. Picnic tables if you want to pack your lunch and hang out plus grills are available.
  3. Excellent fishing spots for the kids.
  4. Playground if they’re done with the swimming/sand thing.
  5. Bike Rental station and hub of anything “touristy” you want to do.
  6. The beach area is rarely crowded, spacious area to set up a tent or umbrella and then lay out in the sun
  7. Plenty of lifeguards on hand for additional peace of mind.
  8. Incredible sunset with Canada off in the distance

This trip was unique for us as the water in the bay was higher than normal and the winds whipping around causing waves close to 4 feet high. The parent in me was “OMFG MY KIDS WILL BE CARRIED OUT TO SEA!” but once I got in the water with them I turned into “WOOOOOOOOO THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME! GET ME A BOOGIE BOARD!”. Both of my kids laughed harder than they ever have as they would either ride the waves or get sucked down shore as the waves crashed.  4 hours later we head to my mom’s for dinner and to hang out.

Sunday would turn out to be a slightly awkward day and you can read about that next…



Categories: Erie, Family, Fatherhood