The campaign that should have lasted a century.
Chick-fil-A is one of the most successful restaurant chains in the world. Their ads feature rebellious cows who tell you to chicken, not beef. This humorous campaign propelled them to outsell KFC by 50% on a location to location basis. After 22 years of successful advertising with The Richards Group, executive (newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer) Jon Bridges ended their relationship. He stated that although the cows are the company's mascots, they are not "the brand".
The Richards Group propelled Chick-fil-A into a $6 billion company when it created their famous "Eat More Chikin" campaign.
It's difficult to understand how a successful 22-year relationship can result in the agency being fired but Bridges insists that he wants the company's ads to be a little less cow-centric. Over the last few months, Chick-fil-A began a video campaign for their Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich featuring historical figures.
These ads aren't nearly as persuasive as the original cow ads. It makes sense that cows would recommend eating chicken over beef to save their own hide but there is no logical link between chicken and historical figures, even with their "that's crazy" angle. It's too far a leap for the mind to allow persuasion to set in.
In addition, and unbeknownst to its customers, the new Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich replaced the beloved Spicy Chicken Biscuit on the menu. This change was met with complete and "udder" disappointment. Sorry, I just had to.
The original cow ads had a clear message with quick-witted cow-titude and didn't bore. The cows had personality and were on a mission to save the bovine community, a humorous, acceptable and worthy cause. These new ads just aren't persuasive. They don't trigger that clever spark we've come to expect from Chick-fil-A ads. Couple that with a bad menu decision and we will see a decline over the next few years.
A campaign that can last for decades is the kind of campaign that shouldn't change easily.
Let this be a lesson. Don't change a great idea that's working just because you are bored of it. If sales are continuing to increase, stick to it as long as possible.
Morty Silber, CEO
Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner