Buffalo Wings and Football: a Manipulation of Masculine Proclivities

By: Michael Bryant

For a number of NFL seasons in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Buffalo Bills dominated the American Football Conference, with their supremacy reaching its zenith in the four seasons between 1990 and 1993.  In these years, the Bills did something no team had ever done before and is unlikely to do again: they won their conference championships and made it to the Super Bowl in four consecutive seasons.  Four years of regular season and playoff games saw quarterback Jim Kelly’s no-huddle offense march up and down the field and defensive end Bruce Smith sack quarterbacks with incredible finesse.  But when it really mattered – when it came down to claiming the Lombardi Trophy, the National Football League’s championship trophy – the Bills came up short in each of their four attempts.  In their biggest games, instead of displaying the poise characteristic of their early-season games, the team either suffered from momentary lapses of concentration (running back Thurman Thomas’ having misplaced his helmet and missing the first series of the 1991 Super Bowl or kicker Scott Norwood shanking a relatively easy kick that would have won the 1990 game) or were simply outmatched by their opponents from the National Football Conference.

No team in any of America’s “Big Four” sports has displayed such sustained greatness over the course of multiple seasons only to come up empty-handed in championship games as the Buffalo Bills, but to say that these four teams and their legendary futility in the Super Bowl have had no impact on American culture at large would be misguided.  These guys – Kelly, Smith, Thomas, Cornelius Bennett, Andre Reed – thrust the city of Buffalo into the national consciousness in a way that it had never experienced before.  This was where O.J. Simpson had played and had broken the single season rushing record, but his teams in the early 1970s experienced little success and never became part of the national consciousness.  This was the town that was relegated to being known as the city on the American side of Niagara Falls and for being the easternmost Rust Belt city.  Suddenly, however, the Buffalo Bills brought a sense of pride to the city, as well as the need for a source of local culture for the rest of the country to latch onto and associate with Buffalo in these four years when its team played such a prominent and unprecedented role in the nation’s greatest sports holiday.  Enter the Buffalo wing.

Football games and food seem to have always paired well together.  The games usually last for more than three hours, and whether watching at home and sprinting to the kitchen on commercial breaks or at the game and having tailgated beforehand, the pangs of hunger usually begin to gnaw at the average spectator at some point during the football watching experience.  The almost hedonistic consumption of food has been part and parcel of the game, and it seems to be most pronounced in the lawns and parking lots surrounding college football stadiums on crisp fall Saturday afternoons.  These tailgating events are planned around the occurrence of a football game, but anyone who has been to a campus where the tailgaters are particularly enthusiastic, its importance rivals, and often supersedes, that of the game.  In my own experiences at Indiana University, University of Louisville, Western Michigan University, and University of Michigan, I’ve noticed that the theme that unifies the majority of tailgating parties is the consumption of alcoholic beverages.  When it comes to the food, however, the menus are as disparate as could be.  Most parties involve some kind of meat as the focal point, but the kind and manner of preparation vary greatly, and the spectrum of side dishes accompanying the hundreds of main courses in the parking lot defies imagination.  Curiously absent from the menagerie, though, are Buffalo wings.  They are admittedly difficult to prepare (properly) in an outdoor setting where miniature deep fryers both require a source of electricity and run the risk of being knocked over by an errant football.  Even in their conspicuous absence from football fans’ favorite sports eating event, the Buffalo wing has managed to become the complement to football in much the same manner as the hard-boiled egg has to Easter.[1]  This begs the question:  How did the Buffalo wing experience its rise in popularity on a national scale, and what sustains its status as the king of all football-related foods?  The answer lies at the confluence of two coincidental events.

In the early 1990s when the Bills experienced the first (and, as it turns out, only) sustained era of greatness, satellite television broadcasts of NFL games made it possible to view any game on any given Sunday afternoon.  Televised games had been commonplace on American television sets since the 1950s, but viewers were typically relegated to watching the teams that played in their local broadcast markets.  While satellite broadcasts had been around since the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was still a niche market and not very prevalent.  With waning interest in baseball and basketball, the national sports mindset began to gravitate toward football, and by the late 1980s, sports bars and even more family-oriented restaurants begin to broadcast a slate of national games each weekend in an attempt to draw customers through their doors.[2]  The Super Bowl was also gaining in popularity, not just as a sports fan’s holy day, but also as an opportunity for fans and non-fans alike to gather in one place and to focus their energy in a common direction for one evening, regardless of their team loyalties.  (After all, only two out of thirty-two teams make the Super Bowl each year, but everyone still watches.)

Suddenly, when the Buffalo Bills arrived on the national stage an unbelievable four years in a row, they were in the spotlight in a way no other team ever had been before.  Granted, as the years wore on, their futility in the Super Bowl became an increasingly hot topic, but for a small-market team like the Bills, the publicity was enough to bring the team into the national consciousness.  An unintentional result of the team’s fame was that the city of Buffalo itself became part of the discussion, and although it in no way represents the cultural pinnacle of what the city and its residents have to offer, its greatest contribution to the hype surrounding the Super Bowl was the dish that was concocted there, and whose origins are a source of contention amongst a handful of restaurants in the Buffalo area.[3]  Regardless of exactly who invented them and under what circumstances, this dish bears the name of the city, and it was promoted by innumerable TV talk shows – both sports-related and otherwise – during the week leading up to the big game as something unique to the city of Buffalo.  The result is that Buffalo wings became an integral component of Super Bowl menus in particular, but also of football watching in general.  In order to both satisfy consumer demand for the difficult-to-make wings and turn a nice profit for their businesses, restaurants nationwide began to promote an imagined connection between football and Buffalo wings as a deeply natural and customary aspect of fandom.  In what follows, I will focus on one national restaurant chain (Buffalo Wild Wings, which was founded by two Buffalo expatriates in Ohio in 1982[4]) in order to demonstrate that in the subsequent twenty years since the grand scale promotion of Buffalo wings into the national consciousness, they have become inextricably linked to football and, by extension, masculine identity.  A pattern of focused advertising and uni-directional marketing strategies supports this hypothesis, and a closer examination of Buffalo Wild Wings’ behavior in the market and reactions to other related factors over the past few years will illuminate just how unlikely it is that the union of football and wings will ever be undone.

Success in the contemporary iteration of capitalism requires detailed and intimate knowledge of consumer tendencies and the retail trappings that encourage them to spend their money.  The marketing departments of major corporations go to great lengths to collect and analyze data that will help them to tailor their product lines and advertising aims in the most effective manner possible.  These data “form the pre-sociological baseline for explanations of social and cultural bases for the social distribution of ‘choice’, habit’ or ‘taste’”[5] and allow corporations to pursue and even manipulate certain demographic segments of the population with great success.  Marketing departments often attempt to draw customers to their products by associating their goods with certain behaviors or styles of living, regardless of the type of product being pushed to consumers.  When it comes to food, though, the associations become enhanced and make for a more complicated relationship between consumption (in the capitalistic sense of the word) and the position of the consumer within the larger context of the social structure.  “Food sociability foregrounds gastronomy, in which the central axis is the intersection of cultural and social features of food and eating. […] The context, social organization, and semantics of eating are important means by which to understand…that foods are conduits of meaning and that they mediate social relations.”[6]  Food, in a greater scale than perhaps any other good available to consumers, is consumed in social settings and serves as a marker of one’s values and social station.  The choices of what, where, and with whom to eat provide a candid glimpse into the subconscious self-image of consumers, and our tastes for certain foods and our eating habits “have their basis in social relationships [and] social classes. […] The experiences of different social classes predisposes them to consume differently and this is reproduced within a class culture through what Bourdieu calls the habitus, a ‘system of dispositions’ through which we classify and make sense of the world, and distinguish between what is, and isn’t, ‘our kind of thing’.”[7]  The advertising executives of major corporations know which niches they are targeting, and they are quite adept at understanding the consumption patterns and class culture of their most loyal customers.

Mennell, et al claim that food categories encode social events[8], but I would argue that in the case of Buffalo wings, the reverse is true – that it is, in fact, the social event of watching football in a communal setting that encodes this particular food category.  In an essay on the psychosocial aspects of food consumption, Roland Barthes makes a case for the power of food advertising on the collective consciousness.  Although he discusses certain themes in food advertising within the context of French identity and nationalism, what he has to say about partaking in food in general terms for an entire country’s population can also be scaled down to fit sub-segments of the population.  Barthes remarks that food performs a commemorative function and allows a person to have communion with a historical past or with movements that are either absent from the present moment or that represent a wider range of experience than the individual can experience in his daily life.[9]  Watching a football game at a sports bar, for example, can in no imaginable way reproduce the experience of sitting amongst tens of thousands of raucous fans watching the home team steamroll the visitors on its way to victory or of mourning a difficult loss with fellow supporters, but their advertisements would have us think that it’s an acceptable substitute.

In a recent series of television commercials produced by Buffalo Wild Wings, a fictional sports anchor named Johnny Wilde reports to viewers from a news desk that serves as a close imitation of the one made famous by ESPN’s SportsCenter – the only difference is that Wilde’s desk displays the trademark yellow and black markings of Buffalo Wild Wings.  There are three different Johnny Wilde commercials.  There’s one about the astounding draft beer selection at Buffalo Wild Wings, one about the variety of sauces available for the chicken wings, and this one about the game day experience at the corporation’s restaurants:

It’s game day, and your team is gonna lose!  And where will you be when that happens?  Carrying what’s left of your dignity up a concrete flight of stairs?  Or face-down in a cushion crying yourself to sleep?  Or you could be here, surrounded by sports fans and wall-to-wall screens.  Well, there’s always another game on.  So pick yourself up, Champ.  But YOU know what victory tastes like…it tastes like chicken.[10]

 The actual product sold in the restaurants is mentioned at the very end of the commercial almost as a tongue-in-cheek afterthought; instead, the implication is that watching a game at Buffalo Wild Wings can, in a way, replicate the experience of watching the game with fellow fans at the stadium, but that it’s better than doing that.  Carrying one’s dignity up the steps of the stadium toward the car with the prospect of a long and lonely drive home where only crying oneself to sleep is relegated to a second-class activity when compared to being surrounded for an indefinite period of time by not only eternally exuberant spectators but also by the warm embrace of a seemingly infinite stream of football emanating from the flat screen TVs at the restaurant.  The experience of watching at game while eating at Buffalo Wild Wings can, in other words, connect patrons to an even more perfect version of the new national pastime in the way described by Barthes.  Not only do patrons feel cocooned by the warm glow from dozens of TVs, but also they have built-in emotional support from other like-minded people and an ample supply of food and drink to buoy their energy during a long afternoon of connecting to a movement larger than their individual selves.

    buffal wild wings

Figure 1 – Interior of Buffalo Wild Wings in Bloomington, Indiana, during an Indianapolis Colts game on October 20, 2013 (author’s personal photograph)

The triumvirate of wings, beer, and sports present in the Johnny Wilde advertisements of Buffalo Wild Wings comes in many different combinations with varying degrees of emphasis on the respective components, as can be seen in Figures 2 and 3.  Just as in the Johnny Wilde commercials, the equal attention given to beer, wings, and sports on gift cards for the restaurant chain seem to conflate the three into a single commodity that is imbued with the almost mystical power of allowing patrons to transcend the physical world and convening with a larger movement.  And in a reflection of Johnny Wilde’s having called spectators Champ when addressing them directly, one of the gift cards at first glance seems to imply that the very possession of the card that allows someone to eat wings while watching sports effectively makes him a championship-caliber athlete.

Figures 2  – Gift Cards at Target (author’s personal photographs)

 bww gift card

The use of chicken by a restaurant chain to promote certain idea(l)s isn’t unique only to Buffalo Wild Wings.  Although KFC’s advertisements perpetuate negative stereotypes, Psyche Williams-Forson discusses how the company has used imagery associated with black people (hip-hop lifestyle and basketball) to advertise its food during NCAA basketball games.[11]  Buffalo Wild Wings has also paid a great deal of money to layer its corporate logo over prominent sporting institutions.  It is an official sponsor of a college football bowl game, the NCAA, the Big Ten Network, and The Dan Patrick Show on NBC Sports Network, which shows the degree to which the corporation is attempting to saturate the sports world.

Screen shot dan patrick

Figure 3 – Screen Shot from The Dan Patrick Show on NBC Sports Network on October 25, 2013 (author’s personal photograph)

In associating itself with sports and sports personalities so prominently and in such a focused manner, Buffalo Wild Wings appears to be attempting to attract patrons from a single customer demographic: male sports fans above the age of twenty-one.

By returning to Barthes’ views on food advertising, the reasons behind Buffalo Wild Wings’ focus on that particular segment of the population becomes more apparent.

Motivation studies have shown that feelings of inferiority were attached to certain foods and that people therefore abstained from them.  For example, there are supposed to be masculine and feminine kinds of food. Furthermore, visual advertising makes it possible to associate certain kinds of foods with images connoting a sublimated sexuality. In a certain sense, advertising eroticizes food and thereby transforms our consciousness of it, bringing it into a new sphere of situations by means of a pseudocausal relationship.[12]

While Barthes discusses food and its presence in advertisements in terms of its negative impact on people’s psychosocial states, what he says about food’s power to force associations between types of foods the eater’s masculinity (or femininity) is relevant to a discussion about Buffalo Wild Wings’ practices.  If there in fact is a pseudocausal relationship between food and the consumer’s consciousness, then the way in which Buffalo Wild Wings portrays the men in its advertisements is of special interest.  Fabio Parasecoli states that masculinity is “constructed collectively in culture and sustained in all kinds of institutions,”[13] including the restaurant industry, which relies on the construction of a fictional – or, at least – misleading image of who should eat in which restaurant and what that experience can do to transform diners into something that they should be but currently are not.  He goes on to say that advertisements “often play with a sense of inadequacy, or with a desire for emulation in order to increase sales, proposing behaviors and values. These constructs hinge on dedication and effort that help to form the constructs of hegemonic masculinities.”[14]

As a case in point, a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial that began airing earlier this year walks the fine line between having good-natured fun with a certain type of wing-eating football fan and actually calling the masculinity of its potential customers into question.  The commercial, entitled The Last Wing, starts by showing a sauce-smeared basket holding a solitary wing.  Then an old-fashioned-looking, clipboard-toting character who bears a strong resemblance to Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins (and namesake of the Lombardi Trophy handed to each Super Bowl winner) appears next to the table.  Even moderately serious football fans instantly recognize the homage to the great coach, and his participation in the commercial implies that eating chicken at Buffalo Wild Wings is synonymous with being a champion.  What he says, though, and the reaction of the restaurant patron whom he’s coaching reveal infinitely more about the restaurant’s attempt to manipulate its male patrons than any amount of visual analogy ever could:

Coach:  (Addressing the patron)  You know that one’s yours, right?  They’ve each had eight.  You, seven.  Is it because you’re a slower eater, or NOT MAN ENOUGH TO CLAIM WHAT’S RIGHTFULLY YOURS?  First it’s a wing.  Then it’s your seat at the table.  So tell me: are you a little baby boy, or are you a BIG STRONG MAN?

Patron:  I’m a big strong man! (Grabs the wing forcefully and rips off a mouthful)

Patron’s Friend:  Okay…

Coach:  (Addressing the TV viewer directly)  Grab a seat.  The game is on.

 Announcer: (Voiceover) Buffalo Wild Wings: Wings. Beer. Sports.[15]

The complexity of this commercial is almost overwhelming.  While it seems like a humorous and almost innocuous attempt at drawing customers to the restaurant on game day, the shots are laden with multiple carefully placed symbols of masculinity.  From the clipboard with football plays drawn up on it, to the numerous televisions in the background all tuned to football games, to patrons wearing their favorite players’ jerseys, to the large glasses of beer in the foreground – it all serves as a reminder that Buffalo Wild Wings is the place where men can restore their masculinity and reclaim either lost identities or invent revised personal histories.

Food as identity, as our physical selves, as a way of thought, as sex, as power, as friendship, as a medium for magic and witchcraft, as our time-controller – in all these different ways and more, food pervades our culture and gives meaning to our lives.  It plays a central role in our societies, and provides us as much with intricate symbols and metaphors as with nutritional substance.[16]

MacClancy’s inclusion of magic and witchcraft in his description of how food and identity are bound might seem to make little sense in a discussion of Buffalo wings and masculinity, but when taken into account with his claim that food is also our time-controller, it begins to align itself with the aims of these advertisements.  Nostalgia for a bygone time is a powerful force that can persuade people to seek ways by which they can restore (often imagined) prior states of being in the present day, similar to how Appadurai describes people’s attempts to cling to an idealized past that actually never existed.[17]  A very high percentage of the men in Buffalo Wild Wings’ target demographic likely played organized football at some point in their lives, and many of those who didn’t are passionate football who might wish that they had.  The closest thing to competition for them these days, though, is the eating of wings with other former football players who are past their prime in a setting that glorifies football and which presents this activity as the layman’s equivalent of actually suiting up on Sundays.  The louder the collective cheer from the fans in Buffalo Wild Wings, the more the patrons feel as if they’re part of an accomplishment.  “[O]ur memory is in fact stimulated and shaped by the social milieus and the people, objects and institutions that make them up.  Remembering itself is often a collective process,”[18] and Buffalo Wild Wings has, therefore, quite successfully tapped into the collective memory of millions of American men and encouraged them to take back control of their steadily dwindling masculinity.

These advertising campaigns have been wildly profitable for the chain, especially on Super Bowl Sunday.  During the 2011 Super Bowl, for example, Buffalo Wild Wings sold more than six million wings[19], a staggering total when one considers that many people celebrate the game at home with homemade snacks.  Yet the impressive numbers aren’t relegated only to Super Bowl Sunday.  Sally Smith, the company’s CEO, says, “Sports bring people together and we love to be that game-day destination for sports fans.  Like our marketing campaign – ‘Fandemonium’ – suggests, our mouth-watering wings combined with the incredible game-day energy in our restaurants make Buffalo Wild Wings the place football fans want to celebrate with their friends.”[20]  Just how heavily the chain relies on football for its financial success became evident in 2011 when the National Football League Players Association and the team owners couldn’t come to an agreement about the terms of the next collective bargaining agreement.  With the season in jeopardy, Buffalo Wild Wings went into panic mode and scrambled to create marketing initiatives that might offset the potential loss in revenue.  Their first step of action was to begin airing football commercials uncharacteristically in late March and early April during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  Executive Vice President of Marketing and Brand Development Cathy Benning admitted that the football season was extremely important to the company and that this was an attempt to inject football fans with some excitement for the upcoming NFL Draft.[21] Later in the year, the company rolled out a Save our Season campaign in which fans who signed a company-created Facebook petition to avoid a labor lockout in the NFL would receive six free wings if the lockout were, in fact, avoided.[22]  Wings restaurants draw massive crowds every Sunday on which is football broadcast, and Buffalo Wild Wings was justifiably very concerned about its bottom line when it feared that the 2011 football season might not happen.

McDonald’s, the de facto king of American capitalism and resident villain of the restaurant world, has recently attempted to make inroads into this lucrative business with the introduction of Mighty Wings in the fall of 2013.  The fast food giant recognized that during the NFL season, Buffalo Wild Wings sells, on average, twenty-six million wings each week, and if it could attract some of those customers with a similar product, it could also turn a nice profit.  Sally Smith acknowledges that McDonald’s is powerful and popular enough to lure away some of her customers, but she also notes that because McDonald’s has never been in the business of providing its customers with a sports-based experience, it can only hope to perhaps win a few converts, with most of its wings sales coming from current customers who decide in favor of the wings instead of a Big Mac on one or two visits.[23]  The marketing department at McDonald’s must have been doing its homework, though, because even though it can’t provide its customers with dozens of flat screen TVs showing football in its restaurants, it can create associations with football.

The average McDonald’s customer is less well-versed in football-related matters than the average visitor to Buffalo Wild Wings on Sundays, but because so many millions of people who don’t regularly watch football at least watch the Super Bowl, they would be more apt to recognize the faces and jerseys of the quarterbacks from last year’s Super Bowl game.  In light of this fact, McDonald’s took advantage of its partnership with the National Football League and used the images of Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco – quarterbacks of the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, respectively – to promote its wings.

mcdonalds footballFigure 4 – An in-store advertisement for McDonald’s Mighty Wings in Bloomington, Indiana taken on November 3, 2013 (author’s personal photograph)

In preparation for an increased demand for chicken wings, McDonald’s purchased substantial quantities of wings in advance of its launch of Mighty Wings, which drove up prices nationwide,[24] forcing Buffalo Wild Wings to become even more innovative in its attempts to get customers to visit its restaurants.

Once more, Cathy Benning’s marketing and development team devised a way to provide its customers with an experience that McDonald’s would be unable to match and that would be unique to Buffalo Wild Wings due to its extremely strong market position.  Realizing that fantasy football has come to share almost an equal share of football fans’ attention as their allegiance to their favorite teams, Benning implemented an initiative to draw fantasy football leagues to Buffalo Wild Wings for their draft days.  The corporation teamed up with Yahoo! Sports to create a National Draft Day in its restaurants.  With the incentive of free merchandise for leagues that registered early, along with reassurance from Benning that the company recognizes that fantasy football is not just a game but is a lifestyle, Buffalo Wild Wings is hoping that it can offset the competition from McDonald’s Mighty Wings[25].  Just to make sure that it reaches everyone, though, it produced two “public service announcements” that would entice people to go where they could get good wings and enjoy the companionship of other football fans in a setting conducive to both watching football and following one’s fantasy players.  Following are their transcripts:

Football Fever PSA #1

Announcer:  Anxious leg syndrome.  Prolonged wing deficiency.  If you recognize these symptoms, you may have a condition that’s affecting millions:  Football Fever.  Get diagnosed so you can enjoy fan support all season long.

Football Fever PSA #2

Announcer:  Involuntary arm extension.  Fantasy lineup terrors.  If you’ve experienced these abnormalities, you may have caught Football Fever: the gridiron contagion that’s sweeping the nation.  It’s recommended you get diagnosed today.[26]

What began by accident in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, has since spread to the rest of the nation in large part, I argue, to the parallel rise in the prevalence of televised professional football games and the ubiquity of the Buffalo Bills in the early 1990s.  Buffalo Wild Wings exploited this coincidental concurrence of food and sport by taking advantage of the associations many men make between the two, and it made no attempt to keep it a secret that it was doing so.  In this study I’ve tried to demonstrate how inextricably linked Buffalo wings and sports are now as a result of the restaurant chains’ concerted efforts to essentially merge these disparate concepts into a single entity.  Although it seems hardly necessary to do so, I close with a final piece of empirical evidence that restaurants that acquire the majority of their revenue from Buffalo Wings are heavily reliant on football in order to avoid letting their finances go into the red.  At all ten of the wings joints deemed to be the top places to eat Buffalo wings in the entire nation[27], as well as at the mighty Buffalo Wild Wings,[28] there are discounted specials on wings on two of the following nights: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Not coincidentally, these are the three nights of the week on which there’s traditionally no football being broadcast on TV.  On these nights at Buffalo Wild Wings and Buffa-Louie’s in Bloomington, Indiana[29], for example, you see an equal ratio of men and women eating Buffalo wings.  No one pays much attention to the basketball, baseball, or hockey games on the television screens (unless the local team happens to be playing), and no one is wearing team jerseys.  People have come to the wings restaurants on these nights to enjoy the discounted prices seemingly as much as they have to enjoy the food itself.  In my estimation, the only reason why the restaurants discount their food on these nights is because they have trouble bringing in customers on days when there’s no football, and they have to resort to these measures in order to remain profitable enough to keep their doors open.  I, for one, am happy that they do this.  I’m glad that they’ve been able to do something that those ill-fated Buffalo Bills teams never could: find a recipe for success.

References

 Appadurai, Arjun.  Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.

Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1996.

Ashley, Bob, et al.  Food and Cultural Studies.  New York: Routledge. 2004.

Barthes, Roland. “Toward a Psychosociology of Contemporary Food

Consumption” pp. 23-30 in Food and Culture: A Reader (3rd Edition). Eds.

Counihan, Carole and Van Esterik, Penny.  New York: Routledge. 2012.

Bleiberg, Larry.  10 great places to savor Buffalo wings.  “USA Today.”  December 19, 2011.

http://www.history.buffalobills.com/Buffalo+Bills+History (Official website of the Buffalo Bills, Accessed on December 5, 2013).

http://www.buffalowildwings.com/en/about/  (Official website of Buffalo Wild Wings, Accessed on December 7, 2013).

Etkin, Nina L.  Foods of Association: Biocultural Perspectives on Foods and Beverages that Mediate Sociability. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. 2009.

Liu, Betty.  Interview with Sally Smith, President and CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings for Bloomberg News.  September 5, 2013.  (Accessed on December 7, 2013). http://ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=krh&AN=8VU81644715833&site=eds-live&scope=site

MacClancy, Jeremy.  Consuming Culture: Why You Eat What You Eat.  New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1992.

Mennell, Stephen, et al.  The Sociology of Food: Eating, Diet, and Culture.  Newbury Park: SAGE Publications. 1992.

McDonald’s makes play for NFL fans with chicken wings.  “Advertising Age.”  September 2, 2013. Volume 84, Issue 30.  p. 3. (No author listed)

Buffalo Wild Wings Offers Free Wings to Football Fans to Support the “Save our   Season” Movement.  “Business Wire.”  June 17, 2011. (Accessed on December 7,

2013)  (No author listed) http://ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=bizwire.c34854517&site=eds-live&scope=site

Buffalo Wild Wings® Tackles Football Stand-off – During Basketball Tourney.

“Business Wire.” March 23, 2011. (Accessed on December 7, 2013).  (No author listed)   http://ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=bizwire.c32890642&site=eds-live&scope=site

Football’s Biggest Day Means Big Business for Buffalo Wild Wings. “Business Wire.” January 26, 2012.  (Accessed on December 7, 2013).  (No author listed) http://ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=bizwire.c39352077&site=eds-live&scope=site

 Parasecoli Fabio. “Feeding Hard Bodies: Food and Masculinities in Men’s Fitness

Magazines.” pp. 284-298 in Food and Culture: A Reader (3rd Edition). Eds.

Counihan, Carole and Van Esterik, Penny.  Florence:  Routledge. 2012.

Buffalo wings crisis hits Super Bowl snacking.  Oliver St. John.  “USA Today.”  January 28, 2013.

Sutton, David.  “Memory as a Sense: A Gustemological Approach.” Food, Culture,

            Society.  Volume 14, Issue 4.  December 2011.  pp. 468-475.

Trillin, Calvin.  An attempt to compile a short history of the Buffalo chicken wing. “The New Yorker.”  August 25, 1980.  (Accessed at http://www.newyorker.com)

Tuttle, Brad.  Chicken Wings Are Hot, and Chicken-Wing Prices Are Hotter.  “Time.” February 13, 2013.  (Accessed at http://business.time.com)

Williams-Forson, Psyche A.  Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women,

Food, & Power.  Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 2006.

Yost, Mark.  Tailgating, Sacks, and salary caps. Chicago: Kaplan Publishing. 2006.

Last Wing – Buffalo Wild Wings Commercial  (accessed on YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XJyH2RJsvM

Football Fever PSA #1 – Buffalo Wild Wings Commercial  (accessed on YouTube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFiAkfLN3rw

Football Fever PSA #2 – Buffalo Wild Wings Commercial  (accessed on YouTube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaKjAo09mqQ

Game Day with Johnny Wilde: 21 Club – Buffalo Wild Wings Commercial  (accessed on YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsn5_CXhkuY

Game Day with Johnny Wilde: Hugo - Buffalo Wild Wings Commercial  (accessed on YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdhnMCjaD6I

Game Day with Johnny Wilde: Victory – Buffalo Wild Wings Commercial  (accessed on YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-J9EoIfFoA


[1] St. John

[2] Yost, pp. 102-105

[3] Trillin

[4] Official website of Buffalo Wild Wings

[5] Mennell, et al, p. 54

[6] Etkin, p. 1

[7] Ashley, et al, p. 64

[8] Mennell, et al, p. 10

[9] Barthes, p. 27

[10] Game Day with Johnny Wilde – Victory

[11] Williams-Forson, p. 5

[12] Barthes, p. 27

[13] Parasecoli, p. 285

[14] ibid., p. 286

[15] Buffalo Wild Wings Commercial – The Last Wing

[16] MacClancy, p. 5

[17] Appadurai, pp. 76-77

[18] Sutton, p. 471

[19] Business Wire, January 26, 2012

[20] ibid.

[21] Business Wire – March 23, 2011

[22] Business Wire – June 17, 2011

[23] Liu (Interview for Bloomberg News)

[24]  Tuttle

[25]  Business Wire – August 15, 2013

[26] Buffalo Wild Wings Commercials – Football Fever PSAs 1 and 2

[27] Bleiberg

[28] Official website of Buffalo Wild Wings

[29] Personal observations of the author

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