Richards Recalls ’60s’ Pet Sounds

Chick-fil-A’s ‘Summer of Chicken’ Roasts Era’s Musical Anthems
DALLAS–It’s the “Summer of chicken” and cows wearing love beads and tie-dyed garments are tuning their radios to the psychedelic sounds of the 1960s.
Now in its fifth year, the hugely popular Chick-fil-A campaign developed by The Richards Group launched its latest round of creative work in mid-July. The effort again features cows, with self-preservation in mind, urging consumers to eat chicken rather than beef.
In addition to billboard and point-of-sale, the new work features a radio commercial imitating an advertisement for a compilation of ’60s tunes from the “Summer of chicken.” A hilarious sampling of music includes a Bob Dylan takeoff (“Think of love/Think of lickin’/Think of peace/Think of chicken”), a Beach Boys-sounding “Surf Chicken” and a Jefferson Airplane-inspired “White Chicken.”
The spot concludes with an admission that the “Summer of chicken isn’t real,” but a Chik-fil-A sandwich is.
Doug Rucker, creative director on the account at Richards, said the concept came from a calendar produced for the client. It showed two cows dressed as hippies with the sign “Peece, Luv, Chikin” (these bovines are notoriously bad spellers.)
“It just resonated with so many people, not only at the client, but with consumers,” Rucker said. “They asked us if there was anything we could do with this [idea] this year.”
Since the promotion coincided with the 30th anniversary of Woodstock, as well as the final days of the millennium, the agency chose to pursue the theme. And that’s when the one-liners began to fly.
“It kind of took on a life of its own,” said Rucker. “We just had a blast. I think we thought of 20 outdoor boards. ‘Give chicken a chance.’ ‘Don’t Bogart the chicken.’ One afternoon we were sitting around thinking of lines and someone thought of ‘Tangled up in chicken,’ like the Bob Dylan song, so we thought, ‘Hey, what if we did a radio spot featuring all these songs?’ “
Tim L. Wood was the copywriter on the radio spot. The ad is now playing in 28 states in the Southeast and Midwest where Chick-fil-A operates its fast-food restaurants.
The cow series won The Richards Group an Obie in 1997 for best outdoor campaign.
Chik-fil-A’s total advertising budget for this year is approximately $5 million, according to the Dallas-based agency.