Country Time’s “Legal Ade” proves to be perfect summertime PR

by | Jun 18, 2018 | Analysis, Public Relations

Lemonade stands have been a summertime rite of passage for American kids for generations. You’ve seen them: cardboard or plywood, hen-scratched sign offering a cup of cool lemonade for a quarter or so. Maybe you even had one growing up.

If you have fond memories of lemonade stands, you’ve probably also seen news stories about local “authorities” cracking down on kids hawking the lemony-sweet goodness on hot summer days. Code enforcement shutting down neighborhood stands or fining kids and their parents for setting up to sell lemonade in their own driveway. In most cases, the local public has fought back, though there have been some outlier stories of certain “activists” trying to get stands shut down, as if they were competition for local businesses. And so the story goes: Headlines are written, people fume on social media—but the laws don’t really change.

Now, though, one major beverage brand is taking the fight to the code enforcers, and stepping up in support of kids and lemonade stands… And this campaign may just be one of the best beverage PR campaigns of the summer. Country Time has launched “Legal Ade,” a public offer to pay fees and permit issues for aspiring lemonade entrepreneurs.

The program is, at least according to the headlines, a response to a headline from Denver, where “someone” called the cops over a lemonade stand run by local boys trying to raise cash for charity. The police closed the stand down, citing the lack of the proper permitting. After an avalanche of the worst public reaction, the city came back and admitted the boys really didn’t need a permit in the first place… but by that time it was too little too late.

In a quick-witted attempt to capture the moment, Country Time launched a website and social media campaign offering to help kids with permit issues. According to the site, Country Time’s Legal Ade team will reimburse the cost of a fine or a permit up to $300. A few hundred bucks could certainly make the difference for a lot of kids this summer, but the Public Relations value of this move is worth a lot more than $300 to Country Time. Here’s a bit from the website:

“Life doesn’t always give you lemons, but when it does, you should be able to make and share lemonade with the neighborhood without legal implications. That’s why we’re here to take a stand for lemonade stands across the nation. The offices of Legal-Ade are now open!”

There’s a video on the website meant to mimic those “aggressive attorney” commercials, and its tone hits just the right pitch to go viral on social media. In the video, Country Time’s Legal Ade team interviews “real kids” who have had their stands shut down by The Man. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s sure to be a hit this summer. Check it out:


Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading PR agency..


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