Chick-fil-A 3 - 6 August Case Study: Whathappens when fast food brands get involved in politics. Danielle Roe, Analyst
Contents Formalities Background Where did conversations take place Statistics Audience What was said Unintended effects Conclusion Insight More information
Formalities This case study is based on a sample of English comments regarding the brand Chick-fil-A gathered from the 3rd to the 6th of August, via the saidWot application. All opinions in this case study are the opinions of online users, and not saidWot. If you find this case study interesting, consider the possibilities that our application can offer you or your brand. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background Chick-fil-A is an American fast food franchise which specializes in chicken meals. The chain store is well-known for aligning itself with traditional Christian values. One of the ways in which they demonstrate their commitment to their beliefs is by not doing business on the Christian Sabbath, Sunday.
Background The company has recently been the focus of the media eye due to comments regarding same-sex marriage made by the company CEO, Dan Cathy: “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family owned business, a family led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”His statement sparked a nation wide response from those who support as well as oppose same-sex marriage.
Background Mike Huckabee declared Wednesday, the 1st of August, National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and urged those who share the restaurant’s philosophy to support their business. The company recorded all time record sales on National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Approximately 735,300 consumers showed up at stores in support. Supporters postedtheir affiliation, as well as menu choices online. Social media platforms were soon buzzing with comments from around the world.
BackgroundSupporters of same-sex marriage responded by naming Friday, the 3rd of August, NationalSame-sex Kiss Day. Where they would gather in front of Chick-fil-A restaurants and engage in as well as encourage public displays of affection between same-sex couples. However, their protest wasn’t as well attended as the Appreciation day. The supporters of same-sex marriage argued that they were not against Dan Cathy’scomments and acknowledged that under the American constitution he had the freedom of speech to say what he believed. They were protesting the fact that his organizationdonated millions of dollars to “anti-gay hate groups” and also that he would not meet with those he spoke out against to continue the conversation.
BackgroundBecause Chick-fil-A was one of the sponsors for the Olympic broadcasts in the USA, many of the mentions included the Olympics. And somewhere along the road the issues got a bit mixed up.
Where did the conversation take place Twitter Facebook 11.76% 82.52% FriendFeed 5.72% Social Media: 100%
StatisticsOf 2 177 mentions: 686 were positive 746 were neutral 745 were negativePositive mentions were mostly related to people who posted when theyate at Chick-fil-A or product offerings consumers enjoy (lemonade, sandwiches).Neutral mentions were mostly trending topic round-ups or headlineupdates.Negative mentions were mostly related to protestors, animalcruelty, product offerings (taste) or gay rights activists.Many negative mentions were also attributed to people who were against theissue entirely and felt that it distracted the public from the important issues.Others were just annoyed by the hype and hysteria.
What was said? Some opportunists just tapped into the hype to promote their own unrelated ventures.
Unintended effects. Other fast food brands who were not directly involved also received a lot of attention. The majority of these comments were directed at KFC, and suggested the restaurant as an alternative for those who chose not to support Chick-fil-A. A KFC spoof advert “KFC loves Gays” also resulted in high volume reposting on various platforms. KFC was mentioned 679 times McDonalds was mentioned mostly in humorous mentions because of their Olympic sponsorship. McDonalds was mentioned 129 times
Conclusion It is easy to assume that since Chick-fil-A showed record breaking sales their brand benefitted from making public statements regarding political issues. Such an assumption would be a mistake. Their brand has now been associated with this issue, and will remain so in the minds of consumers for a very long time; long after the hype has died down, and people stopped going there to prove a point.
Conclusion Chik-fil-A alienated an entire segment of their market. Being associated with traditional family values can be a healthy positioning. Since unconventional families may practice traditional values as well, and enjoy supporting businesses who align themselves accordingly. Others might not care but simply enjoy the food they serve. Now consumers have been placed in a space where choosing to eat at the restaurant or not automatically aligns themselves with one side or the other.
Conclusion Chick-fil-A ‘s new positioning excludes not only same-sex couples, but perhaps also their family and friends, as well as liberal Christians. As a result, people might feel guilty for inadvertently contributing to a cause they did not wish to. Even if they were aware of the brand’s affiliations, they were able to simply enjoy the offerings without being grouped in a camp. However, dining or not dining at Chick-fil-A is making a certain statement. A position that might just make people feel uncomfortable, no matter their personal affiliations.
Insight The point is: Fast food is all about “Easy” “easy experience” If it is no longer an to eat at a particular fast food franchise/chain consumers will rather frequent another. If going to McDonalds suddenly proclaimed your stance on abortion, the death penalty, inter-racial couples or the legalization of marijuana, it becomes a complex decision. It becomes a personal decision that a consumer might not even have worked out for himself.