SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A local “sign war” along the main thoroughfare in Marshfield, Missouri, is taking social media by storm.
It all began when employees of the Marshfield McDonald’s posted, “HEY DQ! WANNA HAVE A SIGN WAR” on their outdoor sign last week.
Angela Jones, shift lead of the Marshfield Dairy Queen, said the crew became aware of McDonald’s challenge on the morning of July 13. It was then they decided, as a team, if and how they would respond.
The decision? A roast.
“WE WLD BUT WERE 2 BUSY MAKIN ICECREAM.”
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This is in reference to a running joke that McDonald’s ice cream machines are frequently broken. There’s even a virtual map – McBroken – that tells users which McDonald’s locations have working or broken machines.
It didn’t take long before McDonald’s made a comeback: “THAT’S CUTE. OUR ICECREAM MAKES ITSELF.”
Over the last several days, the two fast food restaurants have continued across-the-street dialogue. And other businesses have joined in on the fun, including Wendy’s.
Depending on franchising and ownership, local restaurants have the capability of changing their signage at will. Others have to receive corporate approval.
Hamra Enterprises manages the Marshfield Wendy’s, along with more than 90 others across the country. Typically, the local restaurant receives memos from Hamra about what messages to display.
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Eve Metheny, Hamra director of brand marketing, told the Springfield News-Leader, part of the USA TODAY Network, she received an email from the Marshfield location on July 14, asking if the restaurant could participate. She was in.
“HOT AND CRISPY FRIES DONT ARCH” (a message to McDonald’s) was the first message she sent and since, Metheny has been sending messages daily, based on what she is told other restaurants are posting.
Staying on brand is important, Metheny said, and Wendy’s is already known for its “hot takes.” The Wendy’s Twitter account, frequently roasts other businesses online.
“If you read the comments (about the ‘sign wars’), the general consensus is it brings a smile to people’s face,” Metheny said. “People want to laugh and chuckle about things like that, so I think people are just craving that right now.”
Ready for the long haul, Metheny said, with a laugh, that she has a list of messages ready to fire.
As for the original contenders, Jones at Dairy Queen said the restaurant will continue posting new messages until a forfeit, which won’t be coming from DQ.
The News-Leader also contacted the Marshfield McDonald’s, but management could not be immediately reached.
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Not only are chain restaurants participating in the “sign wars.” Local businesses, organizations and civic groups are, too.
Marshfield Mayor Natalie McNish said she’s enjoyed watching the community-wide participation, which is also benefiting small businesses.
“It’s important for a community our size because there are citizens within our community who are entrepreneurial and they need our support, now more than ever,” McNish said.
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For those wishing to look through previous sign messages or share new ones, a public Facebook group called, “Sign Wars of Marshfield Missouri” was created last week to do just that. As of Monday afternoon, the group had 2,100 members.
Marshfield resident Shannon Graham created the group as a way to share the signs with a broader audience.
“For me, I thought it was just really great that this little, tiny town could not only boost the morale of their own town, but they did something that boosted the world’s morale,” Graham said.
Follow Greta Cross on Twitter@gretacrossphoto.