Chick-fil-A's sales have increased for 48 consecutive
years since the chain began in 1967. The chain keeps growing at a
rapid pace despite its decision to remain closed on Sundays for
spiritual reasons. Annual systemwide sales topped $1 billion in
2000 and surpassed $6 billion in 2015.
The company is now well ahead of its nearest
chicken-focused rival, even with fewer than half the number of
locations. Chick-fil-A's systemwide sales jumped 8.8% to $6.29
billion last year, while KFC's U.S. systemwide sales rose 1.8% to
$4 billion, according to Technomic. Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A
exceeded 2,000 locations earlier this year. KFC had 4,270 locations
in 2015, according to Technomic.
Despite its billions of dollars in systemwide sales,
and sales per restaurant that exceed those at industry leader
McDonald's, Chick-fil-A's marketing budget is modest. The company
declined to share marketing spending. According to Kantar Media, Chick-fil-A spent $73.1 million
on measured media in 2015, up sharply from $48.4 million in
"Having the opportunity to partner with Chick-fil-A is
truly exciting for Starcom," Kathy Ring, CEO of Starcom USA, said
in a statement. "Chick-fil-A is a great brand, and we're looking
forward to helping them amplify their message by connecting and
building relationships with new and existing customers through our
expertise in data and technology."
Bridges, Chick-fil-A has held two jump balls to find creative work
that does not feature the cows. The Richards Group participated in
each of the sessions, one in 2015 centered on the chain's people,
and one in 2016 for a new breakfast campaign. It did not win either
Erich & Kallman won the chance to work on
the breakfast campaign, which marks the first major TV campaign for
the newly-formed agency. Commercials, social videos and
other marketing begin airing July 30 and make no references to the
cows. Instead, they showcase six historical figures who had what
were considered crazy ideas and now have the idea of eating chicken
for breakfast. The theme is "Chicken for Breakfast. It's not as
crazy as you think."
"The idea chicken for breakfast isn't something that
most people pop up in the morning and think about," said Eric
Kallman, creative director and co-founder of Erich &
The work includes commercials featuring actors
portraying prominent people including Amelia Earhart, Alexander
Graham Bell, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michelangelo, Susan B. Anthony
and Thomas Edison. "Whatever they did historically had to kind of
feel like they beat the odds and it was something that people
didn't think they might accomplish," Mr. Kallman said.
The spots mix history lessons with current notes. For
example, Ms. Earhart is shown flying an old-fashioned airplane
resembling one she flew across the Atlantic Ocean, then uses a
smartphone to take a selfie.
Erich, co-founder and managing director at Erich & Kallman,
said the small agency is set on maintaining a limited
full-time staff (for now, it's essentially just him and Mr.
Kallman) and reaching out to a variety of partners for projects. On
Chick-fil-A, it worked with director Harold Einstein at Dummy
Films. Moxie, Chick-fil-A's social media agency, pitched in on
extensions of the campaign such as GIFs.
The commercials promote the chain's newest breakfast
sandwich, the Egg White Grill, which it began selling on July 18.
The introduction of the new, lighter breakfast sandwich comes as
Chick-fil-A has seen competitors sharpen their focus on breakfast.
Among them, McDonald's continues to see success with its All Day
Breakfast menu, after Taco Bell's 2014 breakfast introduction and
as chains such as Dunkin' Donuts and Denny's continue to tinker
with their breakfast items.
Chick-fil-A began selling the Chicken Biscuit, its
first breakfast item, in 1986. However, only 5% of people are aware
that Chick-fil-A serves breakfast, Mr. Bridges said. He noted that
daily breakfast sales are as low as a few hundred dollars at some
locations and up to $10,000 at others.
Now, breakfast is getting its moment in the spotlight.
The chicken for breakfast campaign is set to serve as a key part of
Chick-fil-A's messaging heading into the fall, a big part of its
marketing calendar with its college football tie-ins.