Yes, I know it’s a Friday as I write this, and the title indicates #ThrowbackThursday. But I have two excuses: (1) I was predisposed with other writing matters on Thursday night, and (2) why disrupt a cool topic and hashtag? So with that, I want to follow up on a couple of posts I wrote during 2016. The first is of the pizza (yum!) chain Rocky Rococo, which I wrote about in this post from February. The pizza is real, but the Rocky Rococo figure started out as a mythical figure (sprouted from the mind of a sketch artist) until the company’s founders met the man pictured to your right. Jim Pederson would put on a white fedora and blazer and bring Rocky to life for 4 decades until his passing last February. After Pederson’s passing, one of Rocky Rococo’s co-founders voiced the belief that “the spirit of Rocky will live on and we hope it will be fun and a tad irreverent.”
And indeed Rocky’s spirit has lived on, in sorts. Since last spring, the radio ads of Rocky Rococo that I’ve come across featured that familiar upbeat jingle, the usual promotion of their latest offers, and a new voice behind the studio microphone. It’s an irreverent voice. It’s a voice employing that same fun, buoyant, Chicago-style attitude and spark that Pederson gave to Rocky.
And… it’s a female voice.
If you’re expecting a criticism of Rocky Rococo’s move or even an “it’s good, but…” from me, you’re going to come up empty. For sure, it’s good to see diversity in radio and all that. Hearing these ads, I do get the sense that employing a female voiceover is an intentional move by Rocky Rococo in their new advertisements, an acknowledgement that anyone, regardless of gender, can get the Chicago cadence and spirit down pat… but that Jim Pederson as Rocky can never be duplicated.
It’s good to know, though that Rocky Rococo’s new radio ads still continue to use Jim Pederson’s voice. How so, you ask? At the end of each of Rocky Rococo’s new radio ads, once the jingle plays out, we hear a 1-second sound byte of Pederson as Rocky (“Hey, hey!”). It’s a haunting yet sweet touch to ensure his spirit lives on.
No doubt about it, 2016 has seen one heartbreaking moment after another. One of those moments was the June 12 tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In this post, I mentioned some of the memorials done in the wake of the tragedy, including those by Orlando’s Major League Soccer team, Orlando City SC, a.k.a. The Lions.
One of the Lions’ moves was an announcement that a permanent memorial to the Pulse victims would be installed in their new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2017 and will not only house the Lions but their National Women’s Soccer League counterparts, the Orlando Pride. Well, sure enough, in the past week, the club’s president tweeted this photo of Section 12 of the stadium.
Yes, amidst that see of purple seats (the Lions’ primary color) are 49 seats in rainbow colors. The numbers are significant: Section 12 is in recognition of the fact that the Pulsse tragedy occurred on June 12; 49 seats are one for each of the victims from that sad event. What’s more, Section 12 is at field level, according to the stadium layout, so they’ll be hard to miss (unless they’re filled, of course). Plus, the Lions will dedicate the section not just to the victims but to the LGBTQ community in Orlando and central Florida, which presumably means that LGBTQ groups who want an outing at the soccer match will be given priority for that section. A very cool move by the Lions, in more ways than one.
*** 1/5/2017 UPDATE *** Orlando City held a private ceremony to formally unveil the seating section. The Orlando Sentinel has video of the event at this article. When watching the video and seeing the accompanying photo you’ll notice something you do not see in the above tweet — each seat back displays the “Orlando Strong” banner that popped up after last June’s tragedy.