Richards Breaks Campaign for Chicken Chain

NEW YORK Chick-fil-A, the No. 2 chicken chain behind KFC in sales, will add a few new twists to an old formula to keep registers ringing at its 1,150 stores.

Consumers will see the icon “Eat Mor Chikin” cows for the next two years in an ongoing tongue-in-cheek ad campaign, via The Richards Group, Dallas, in which they try to convince people that chicken is more appetizing than beef.

This fall, the cows will hit the campaign trail with print and outdoor in the chain’s 36-state market proclaiming, “Not left wing. Not right wing. Vote Chicken.” Also, in the fourth quarter, the chain will fire up TV for its new “Secret Agent Cows” calendar, which shows the bovines repelling down volcanoes and hanging from helicopters.

“The cow campaign still lives. It’s relevant and fresh,” said Steve Robinson, CMO. “The calendars doubled in sales last year [when 2.2 million were sold].” Tag: “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich,” continues.

While the ad recipe remains, the Atlanta-based chain’s menu might change. It is testing new breakfast offerings in three markets through May. Chicken Minis (nuggets), a chicken bagel sandwich, breakfast burrito, praline pecan twist, fruit cup and yogurt parfait are all in play. The fare should roll chainwide by year’s end with marketing in early 2005. A Char-Grilled chicken sandwich with low-carb bun will also be tested.

The media budget is expected to increase up to 15 percent this year from $7 million in 2003, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. By comparison, KFC spent $222 million. Chick-fil-A’s sales grew 11.8 percent last year to $1.5 billion, per the company.