Featured Story: Chick-fil-A

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Among fast-food chains, Chick-fil-A has always been a rare bird. And when they moved from malls to freestanding units, they began competing in a tough new environment. They were outspent in media up to 10 to 1 by the big burger chains, and in an industry notorious for promoting deep discounts, Chick-fil-A doesn’t compete on price.

So we needed to convince consumers to drive past a gauntlet of value meals and promotions and pay nearly $3 for a chicken sandwich.

As we talked to our customers, we learned that Chick-fil-A was rich with positive associations: good food, great service, clean-cut employees, and strong values. But as we dug deeper, we found that they were seen as almost too perfect. Words like conservative and boring came up again and again.

Hmm – what was a nice, wholesome chicken sandwich restaurant, completely outspent on advertising, to do? The answer was simple: Enlist renegade cows who, in enlightened self-interest, encourage people to eat more chicken. Simple, but no one had ever thought of it before.

From its inception, initially using only outdoor, the cow campaign helped lead to same-store sales growth that more than doubled the pre-campaign Chick-fil-A sales trend. And in 2013, Chick-fil-A (with its 1,700 stores) surpassed KFC (numbering 4,660 stores) in sales.

All this despite Chick-fil-A’s $3 price premium, its refusal to discount, its dramatic deficit in ad spending, and the fact that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Amazing what a herd of motivated cows can accomplish.

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Among fast-food chains, Chick-fil-A has always been a rare bird. And when they moved from malls to freestanding units, they began competing in a tough new environment. They were outspent in media up to 10 to 1 by the big burger chains, and in an industry notorious for promoting deep discounts, Chick-fil-A doesn’t compete on price.

So we needed to convince consumers to drive past a gauntlet of value meals and promotions and pay nearly $3 for a chicken sandwich.

As we talked to our customers, we learned that Chick-fil-A was rich with positive associations: good food, great service, clean-cut employees, and strong values. But as we dug deeper, we found that they were seen as almost too perfect. Words like conservative and boring came up again and again.

Hmm – what was a nice, wholesome chicken sandwich restaurant, completely outspent on advertising, to do? The answer was simple: Enlist renegade cows who, in enlightened self-interest, encourage people to eat more chicken. Simple, but no one had ever thought of it before.

From its inception, initially using only outdoor, the cow campaign helped lead to same-store sales growth that more than doubled the pre-campaign Chick-fil-A sales trend. And in 2013, Chick-fil-A (with its 1,700 stores) surpassed KFC (numbering 4,660 stores) in sales.

All this despite Chick-fil-A’s $3 price premium, its refusal to discount, its dramatic deficit in ad spending, and the fact that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Amazing what a herd of motivated cows can accomplish.

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“U Wanna Peece Of Me” – Outdoor
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