Business is booming at Chick-Fil-A as gay marriage controversy actually HELPS the fast-food chain
Daily Mail: All publicity is clearly good publicity — when it comes to chicken burgers at least. Despite receiving a PR drubbing three months ago when its boss publicly slammed gay marriage, business is booming at fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A.
Consumer use of the restaurant, visits and advertisement awareness all shot up in the third quarter, according to a research report, as it was in the midst of an intense media frenzy. ‘There was a lot of talk that this would hurt Chick-Fil-A, but it actually helped the brand,’ said Jeff Davis, president of research specialist Sandelman & Associates.
Consumer use was up 2.2 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2011, according to a survey of more than 30,000 fast-food consumers conducted in markets where Chick-Fil-A is located. Market share was up 0.6 per cent and total ad awareness was up a significant 6.5 per cent during the period.
Gay rights groups held protests at the restaurants and called for boycotts in July after President Dan Cathy told a religious publication that his company was ‘guilty as charged’ in supporting the biblical definition of the family unit.
Supporters of the chicken burger chain also held rallies outside stores but the bulk of national media and social media coverage was negative. However, the
bad PR has only fuelled Chick-Fil-A’s popularity.
During the third quarter, Chick-Fil-A broadened its regular customer base in 28 of 35 media markets, Davis said.
The surprising results have dumbfounded PR experts. ‘Chick-Fil-A did everything wrong in the book,’ Chris Goddard, president of CGPR, told USA Today. ‘Their president shot from the hip, and his PR team was not equipped or prepared (to respond). It was a PR disaster and a clear case of what not to do in a crisis.’
Others believe the success proves that not all brands must appeal to everyone. ‘Brands that take risks can win big rewards, but they must be prepared for the backlash that comes with it,’ Ronn Torossian, CEO at 5WPR, told the website. ‘They were saying to their core constituency: Here’s what we believe.”
Dumbfounded PR experts? Perhaps they missed the massive turnouts that occurred for the support of Chick-Fil-A and traditional marriage. Silly experts…