Is Chick-fil-A Moving on to Greener Pastures?

Unquestionably, Chick-fil-A is one of the best-loved QSR brands in the country. But it wasn’t just the cows that awakened hungry guests to this once regional chicken joint. It was OOH that introduced the cows to consumers earning this campaign an almost cult-following by motorists hungry to fill their belly’s with food and laughter, traveling down the country’s highways wondering how the cows would throw their chicken friends under the proverbial bus (and in the ovens).


Chick-fil-A and The Richards Group knew there was only one medium, the world’s oldest, that could bring the cows to life, without actually bringing them to life. By giving them a voice without giving them a voice and by giving them a platform, albeit vertical, across the American landscape where people live, work and play. It arguably has been one of the most effective brand positions in the entire restaurant industry.

"Vote Chikin. Itz Not Right Wing or Left" cow billboard.

Consumers evolve and so, to, must brands. Is it smart for Chick-fil-A to evolve its brand position to continue to connect with its consumers? Certainly. Does Chick-fil-A need to send the cows to pasture? Some brand strategists might say yes. I imagine fast-food hamburger restaurants might not mind seeing the cows go bye-bye. As an OOH media agency executive, I wonder if the creative brief that Chick-fil-A will give to its new creative agency will start with “do it big, do it better and do it on out- of-home.”

Not surprisingly, the out of home industry’s own evolution into big data including mobile and purchase will empower the world’s oldest medium to continue to advance. With all of this data will come precision….to define audiences not just by age and location, but by brand preferences, purchases and future intent. As exciting as this is for those of us leading the out-of-home industry in the big data age, one can’t argue with the quintessential truth about OOH and Chick-fil-A knew it well…in OOH…it’s all about the creative.