In McCann New York’s latest for Chick-fil-A, a group of burger giant execs gather in the board to do damage control on a crisis: A mole in the company has been telling the press that (the horror!) chicken is better than burgers.
The bigwigs go around the room pointing fingers. Was it Bill, or maybe Diane, the company honcho asks. Surely, it can’t be Steve, he says, because he just joined and has been doing a great job. Never mind that Steve is obviously in disguise, wearing a toupee and has unusually large ears and nostrils.
The spot, directed by Dave Laden via Hungry Man, is the latest laffer to come from McCann New York, which became the company's AOR in 2016, following its 22-year-long relationship with The Richards Group. It continues the Chick-fil-A cows' ongoing efforts to turn the world against beef and get them to "Eat mor chikin."
Chick-fil-A is a standout in the restaurant industry, with sales up 13.5 percent to nearly $10.2 billion last year, according to data from industry research firm Technomic. While KFC's advertising from Wieden & Kennedy generates plenty of buzz, KFC is less than half the size of Chick-fil-A in terms of sales. KFC's U.S. systemwide sales rose 0.4 percent to $4.4 billion last year, according to Technomic.
Chick-fil-A's growth is putting pressure on other operators, including McDonald's, to come up with improved chicken sandwiches to appeal to people looking for alternatives to burgers.
An email sent out earlier this week by the National Owners Association, a group of McDonald's franchisees who are pushing for changes at the Golden Arches, discussed the success Chick-fil-A has seen with its chicken sandwiches. "A favorite, that our customers want, is a chicken sandwich. Unfortunately, they have to go to Chick-fil-A for it," the group said in its statement, adding that Chick-fil-A's results "demonstrate the power of chicken." The group of McDonald's operators said a chicken sandwich should be "our top priority."
Maybe burger companies should be sending their own spies into Chick-fil-A's ranks.