Scotty McCreerys love affair with Bojangles fried chicken and sweet tea was evident from his first appearances on American Idol.
The Charlotte-based fast-food chain sent him care packages of its products when he was in Hollywood. He wore an Its Bo Time! T-shirt on national television. And his fellow finalists sampled Bojangles backstage during stops on the Idols Live concert tour.
So it was only a matter of time before McCreery and Bojangles made their long courtship official: The 2011 Idol winner began appearing Thursday in radio and TV commercials for the chain. Its his first big solo endorsement since leaving the Idol brand.
It was a mutual thing, McCreery said in an interview Thursday. Theyd seen how much I liked the store and the product and the food.
Randy Poindexter, senior vice president of marketing for Bojangles, said in a statement that the company and McCreery, a Garner native and freshman at N.C. State University, share a unique Southern style.
Im especially proud to partner with a young man who embodies the same values of community and family that are the heart of the Bojangles culture, Poindexter said.
Financial details of the relationship werent released, but McCreery said he and his band get gift cards to Bojangles restaurants. The company has more than 500 stores, mainly in the Southeast, and McCreery can rattle off where many of them are.
He likes eating there a lot. As a Garner High School senior, he said, he sometimes went daily. Now, when not on the road, he may go three or four times a week, he said.
There are two 30-second TV spots:
• Show Time features McCreery and his band backstage at a concert. (Yes, those are his actual band members, McCreery said.) When they are told by a stage manager that it is show time, McCreery corrects him to say, Its Bo Time!
• Bojangles Town features a remix of McCreerys Water Tower Town single, adding images of a Bojangles meal to other small-town scenes.
The two radio ads feature McCreery talking about the flavor of Bojangles chicken and about missing the restaurants when he is away from the Southeast.
Free holiday download
Besides the commercials, McCreery will be featured on posters and other displays in Bojangles restaurants. And starting Nov. 26, Bojangles will give fans codes where they can go online and get a free download from McCreerys new holiday CD, Christmas with Scotty McCreery.
McCreery said hes happy with the success of the CD, which debuted last month at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. (Its now ranked No. 21.) And hes looking forward to his next non-holiday CD, which he expects to come out next year, probably in the second quarter.
His first CD, 2011s Clear As Day, went platinum, selling more than a million copies. McCreery, who didnt write any of the songs on his first album, said hes listening to a lot of songs submitted by other writers to get the best ones on the next CD. He hopes to have one of his own on the album, too.
Finding right songs
While in the last year I had a platinum record and won awards and sold-out shows, I didnt have that big radio hit, he said. Ive really got to take my time with finding songs and making sure theyre the right songs for this next record.