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Lions And Tigers And Chicken Sandwiches– Oh, My!

February 10, 2016

Creak, creeeeeak! That’s me trying to sneak into my own blog. Note to self: get some oil for that door!

Sorry. I’m embarrassed to have been away for so long. Pretend you don’t see me… : )

I just completed a big project. I need a break from it, however, so– with your kind permission– I’ll talk about something else: namely, a fun assignment I had last fall.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

It was for Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain famous for its chicken sandwiches.

Chick-fil-A sponsors a kickoff game on the opening weekend of the American college football season. The game is played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

The 2015 Kickoff Game pitted the Louisville Cardinals against the Auburn Tigers.

My assignment: create a promotional illustration for the Chick-fil-A website. Here’s the final:blank vertical space, 32 pixels highChick-fil-A 2015 Kickoff Game Auburn Tigers Louisville Cardinals football mascot parachuting onto field fans cheering teams war eagle flying

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highAs you may have guessed, the team mascot for the Louisville Cardinals is a cardinal, and the mascot for the Auburn Tigers is a tiger.

Yup, makes sense.

They both have tough jobs. Here’s Aubie the Tiger, for example, watching the game. Apparently, he also does a little personal coaching…blank vertical space, 32 pixels highAuburn University mascot Aubie the Tiger watching football game and standing with cheerleader

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highLouie the Cardinal knows how to get the fans excited. Looks like he also knows how to get a back rub…blank vertical space, 32 pixels highLouisville University mascot Louie the Cardinal leading cheers on football field and getting back rub from cheerleader

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highWhy the parachute? Believe it or not, Louie skydives down onto the field before each Louisville home game.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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And where does the eagle fit in? That’s Auburn’s famous War Eagle. Here’s what he looks like in flight:blank vertical space, 32 pixels highAuburn University bird War Eagle circling field before home football game

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highWar Eagle is an unofficial second mascot for Auburn’s athletic teams. There are several stories and legends about his origin. My personal favorite, courtesy of Wikipedia, is definitely this one:BlankVertSpace.4pixels

A soldier from Alabama was the sole Confederate survivor of The Battle of the Wilderness (1864). Stumbling across the battlefield, he came across a wounded young eagle. The bird was named Anvre, and was cared for and nursed back to health by the soldier.

Several years later the soldier, a former Auburn student, returned to college as a faculty member, bringing the bird with him. For years both were a familiar sight on campus and at events.

On the day of Auburn’s first football game in 1892 against the University of Georgia, the aged eagle broke away from his master during the game and began to circle the field, exciting the fans. But at the end of the game, with Auburn victorious, the eagle fell to the ground and died.BlankVertSpace.4pixels

And if that’s not the truth, it should be!  : )BlankVertSpace.6pixels

Beginning in 1930, and continuously since 1960, War Eagle has flown over Auburn’s football field before every home game. The current War Eagle is actually War Eagle VII (2006-present). Unlike Louie, he doesn’t need a parachute.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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Here’s the illustration again. It’s a good example of a company using social media and fun unique custom illustration to promote a major event. BTW: Auburn won, 31-24blank vertical space, 32 pixels highChick-fil-A 2015 Kickoff Game Auburn Tigers Louisville Cardinals football mascot parachuting onto field fans cheering teams war eagle flying

    *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Do you use social media to promote company-sponsored events?

Has anyone ever worked as a team mascot? What’s it like in there??

Are there any Confederate war veterans out there who can confirm the War Eagle story??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Keeping A Promise To Love In Sickness And In Health

How To Recycle A Couple Of King Arthur Tin Cans

Valentine’s Day: Busker Gets Lucky
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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact informationblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. Lily permalink
    February 11, 2016 4:46 PM

    Wow! A parachuting mascot?! Now that’s just impressive.

    I secretly want to be a sports mascot just for a day… They always look like they’re having so much fun. I’d be no good at the back-flips or somersaults but I’d love to just run around and generally be silly on the field 🙂


    • February 17, 2016 10:38 AM

      Here’s the illustrator parachuting in to reply, hopelessly late again and blushing like a rosy-cheeked baby who just, uh, compromised a newly mopped floor… 😳

      Hi, Lily! Great to see you, hope you’re surviving that always challenging UK winter. I have to admit I share your fantasy about being Mascot For A Day. I suspect it’s a hot and sweaty job, but the fun factor does seem off the scale. The Love Factor, too– everybody loves a big fuzzy mascot– half the gig is probably posing with people for pictures!

      Hope you get a shot at it. I know intuitively you’d be excellent, with all the right moves. Let’s hear it for silliness!! Thanks as always for stopping by! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. February 11, 2016 6:59 PM

    The only creaking sounds I hear are from my brain’s gears trying to find words to express: a. the admiration for thy talent and b. the joy of seeing you after a long time [mind you, an hour would be a long time!]…
    Alas, no words.
    Just 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    …and sigh of relief:
    Things are as they should be! 🙂


    • February 17, 2016 11:38 AM

      My. Dear. Marina… 👸🏻💪🚀🌕

      There are creaking sounds here, too. Your no-words words sent me to the moon, and the creaking is me trying to stand up. No, I’m too dizzy. I must lie here for a few more days… ☺️

      Sorry for this inexcusably late reply. I hope all mortals and immortals are treating you well, because that is how it should be. So good to see you, and your creak-speak will keep me on ☁️#9 for the foreseeable future. Oh wait, I’m on the moon. No, no, that’s OK– I forgot I have the gift of bilocation, which allows me to swoon in two places at the same time… 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 18, 2016 1:17 PM

        Just as well for bilocation -I hope it’s a trilocation – wouldn’t want to be deprived of your fine presence! 😉
        May your Thursday – Friday and then weekend, February, March, year, years decades, centuries be full of joy, my friend. 🙂


  3. February 12, 2016 4:28 PM

    no pqero que pajaro mas emotivo ….grandioso ,grandioso


    • February 17, 2016 11:47 AM

      ¡Ha! Uno no suele ver las aves que expresa una emoción fuerte, eso es cierto. Creo que hay algo en el fútbol americano que despierta su “bestia interior”! : )

      Gracias tanto por parar cerca, su ayuda buena siempre es de agradecer! : )

      Ha! One doesn’t usually see birds expressing strong emotion, that’s true. I guess there’s something about American football that arouses their “inner beast”! : )

      Thanks so much for stopping by, your kind support is always appreciated! : )


  4. February 14, 2016 9:13 AM

    You were gone a while my friend, but the time away resulted in a golden egg! Love your creative juices and how they cook. I always enjoy reading your behind the scenes, in front of the stage and view from the sky box –
    Way back in college, Chic-fil-A was the GO TO spot – yummmm and now I’m hungry at 9 am and I’ve already eaten all my Valentine’s candy – darn you, funny man!
    Congrats on the clever campaign!


    • February 19, 2016 11:14 AM

      I’ve laid a golden egg! I believe that’s what King Midas said after he had that bizarre species-change operation… 👑 => 🐔

      That you, my dear AM! Your soulful poetic disposition was certainly reflected in that comment. The next time I’m tryna rack my brain for an idea, I shall picture myself cooking in my own creative juices. Let’s hope I remember to wear a raincoat… 😕🍜

      You ate all your Valentine candy by 9 AM?? Well, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks a nutritious breakfast is important… 🍩🍪🍫🍰😋

      Always a pleasure to see you, many thanks for dropping that golden comment into my sky box!! ✈️💣😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 19, 2016 5:32 PM

        🙂 I’m emoji-challenged
        golden eggs and platinum yolks, my friend


        • February 21, 2016 8:01 PM

          Hey!– that’s a yeller smiley you done put there! You ain’t as emoji-challenged as you thunk!! GE’s and PY’s?? Now them’s a breakfast fit fer Scrooge McDuck!! Thanks, AM!! 💰💎🍳🐥

          Liked by 1 person

  5. February 14, 2016 5:57 PM

    Louie the Cardinal and the War Eagle certainly know how to get the fans excited. But I think I’d pass on parachuting in. Does Abie the Tiger have any perks to his job other than hanging with the cute cheerleaders?

    Chick-fil-A picked a winner when they asked you to do the illustrations for the kickoff game. Excellent work as usual, Mark, and I love the back stories.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your lovely bride. 😉


    • February 19, 2016 11:34 AM

      Ha! The thought of puttin’ on a bird suit and jumpin’ outta a plane makes my feathers molt, and my suet run cold. I’m with you, Judy– the only way that little item is going on ye olde bucket list is if there’s a hole in the bucket so it can fall out!! 😄

      Your question about Aubie the Tiger having any special perks prompted me to do some googling. Auburn University has a special page about him, detailing his history. Doesn’t mention any perks, but he does have his own staff, including directors of scheduling, fundraising and publicity! He was also the first mascot inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame— I didn’t even know there was a Mascot Hall of Fame!!

      Thanks for all your kind words and support. We did have a nice Chocolate Overindulgence Day, hope you and Dave can say the same!! ❤️😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. February 16, 2016 8:24 PM

    So I guess that’s a homing eagle, it knows where to go and come back? You know being a blogger and illustrator makes one sees things no one would think of highlighting!


    • February 19, 2016 12:01 PM

      Ha! He’s a homing eagle in more ways than one, Jean– he only makes appearances at Auburn University home games! : )

      Not sure I’m an especially bright bulb for highlighting War Eagle. I was told he was an essential part of the illustration, which prompted me to do some research on him. He has a colorful history, to say the least– I guess that’s usually the case when so much of one’s history is legend!!

      Good to see you, many thanks for, er, swooping down and leaving that comment! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  7. RKLikesReeses permalink
    February 18, 2016 3:04 PM

    Chick-fil-A? You had Chick-fil-A as an account? WOW!!!!!! That’s super! Also – Congrats for finishing your big project, Mark! Taking a break to come here is a lovely way to celebrate/escape. A tropical beach might a little bit more fun, but then we couldn’t get to see you!
    Your image is terrific! It captures all of the excitement of the event and shares the information in a wildly creative way. LOL – it makes me feel like I should root-root-root for someone! The history behind the eagle is esp fascinating. ::applauds::



    • February 21, 2016 8:44 PM

      My dear RK! Thanks so much, and apologies mucho for the late response. Yes, doing a job for Chick-fil-A was something to, er, crow about! My contact was extremely gracious and supportive. The company’s reputation for class and going the extra mile is certainly well deserved. 🏆🐔

      Why, they’re almost as nice as you!! 🏆🎨

      A tropical beach? I don’t think I’m the type. I hate getting sand between my toes. I say that a lot when I play golf, too… ⛳️😠

      Thanks for all your kind words. You lift me up even higher than War Eagle did, the time he took me cliff-side to meet his mother. (She’s beady-eyed and bald, I think that’s why she wears that old Confederate cap…) 🐔🎩

      Thanks a ton o’ Reeses for all your support!! ::grabs parachute, runs to second-storey window, stops, runs back, hangs up parachute, does free fall onto shag carpet::


  8. February 18, 2016 3:13 PM

    mark eres mi amigo al otro lado del continente …gracia mi viejo,de pronto algun dia no veremos pero no de forma virtual


    • February 19, 2016 10:55 AM

      “Mi amigo en todo el continente” – ¡me gusta eso! Sí, en efecto. ¡Maravilloso pensar internet está creando amistades a nivel mundial! ¡Graçias, amigo! : )

      “My friend across the continent”– I like that! Yes, indeed. Wonderful to think the internet is creating global friendships! Thank you, my friend! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  9. February 29, 2016 8:33 AM

    Excellent illustration….glad to be catching up with your blog. PS if you want to know a LOT about mascots check out the series/documentary series Behind the Mask on Hulu. Really great show


    • March 1, 2016 8:21 AM

      Thanks very much, Alison. Yes, I’m playing “blog catchup” myself! Behind The Mask sounds interesting. It also sounds like a documentary about The Lone Ranger! I can imagine Tonto being interviewed: “He’s always sending me into town to buy donuts…”

      Great to see you, thanks a lot for stopping by! : )

      Liked by 1 person

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