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Chick-fil-A Unveils Yearlong Promotion

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ATLANTA Chick-fil-A will begin an in-store promotion at its more than 1,170 restaurants Nov. 15 to introduce the 2005 edition of its popular calendar featuring the cows from its "Eat mor chikin" campaign, the company said.

The company has begun shipping 2.3 million copies of the calendar to all its restaurants in 37 states, said Jerry Johnston, company spokesman. "They are arriving daily," he said.

The calendar does not require much promotion beyond an availability announcement. Now it in its eighth year, it is the best-selling calendar in the nation. Its closest rival, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, sold about 1 million copies last year.

"We never intended for our calendars to ever compare to, let alone surpass, Sports Illustrated or any of the other famous calendars, but the Cow Calendars have become an integral part of our annual marketing plans," said Steve Robinson, senior vice president of marketing at Chick-fil-A in Atlanta.

The Richards Group in Dallas produces the calendar and the "Eat mor chikin" campaign. As many as a dozen people at the independent Dallas shop work on the calendar each year.

"While the Chik-fil-A Cow Calendar is certainly one of the most creative and fun projects our agency produces each year, it also is a meticulous project that takes nearly a year to complete," said Stan Richards, founder and chief creative officer of the shop. "Our team works closely with some of the most respected creative talent in the industry to create a memorable, high-quality calendar for Chick-fil-A each year."

For the second consecutive year, the agency used Hollywood photographer Glen Wexler to create the visuals for the calendar. Best known for the more than 300 album covers he has created for artists such as Michael Jackson, ZZ Top and Van Halen, Wexler spent a month creating the final images from photographs, special effects and digital enhancement.

This year's calendar features the cows as secret agents, part of a worldwide organization called CUDD (Cows United in Danger, not Dinner). They are fighting the evil Dr. Beefwurst and his sinister Circus Burger organization.

Calendars, which cost $5 each and include 12 monthly discount coupons, are available only at Chick-fil-A restaurants.