Corporate Political Stands May Lead to Consumer Alienation

posted in media on 9/4/12

Chik-fil-A same-sex marriage fallout offers lessons to industry

Bret Thorn, Nation’s Restaurant News

The firestorm that engulfed Chick-fil-A following comments made against same-sex marriage by leader Dan Cathy may have ebbed, but the fallout continues.

More than a month after Cathy, president and chief operating officer of the 1,600-unit quick-service chain, stated to the Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” in his support of “traditional marriage,” angry students at the University of Maryland circulated a petition to shut down a campus outpost of the chicken purveyor.

“This was not net a good thing for Chick-fil-A to get into,” said Ted Marzilli, senior vice president of YouGov BrandIndex, adding, however, that the chain’s fans and political supporters would likely help it recover.

But branding consultant Jeff Lotman said he sees it differently.

“I think overall this is a great publicity coup for Chick-fil-A,” said Lotman, chief executive of Global Icons, a brand-licensing and marketing agency. “They’ve gotten exposure that’s just enormous. Not that I believe for one second that [Cathy] did it on purpose.”

Read the full article on Nation’s Restaurant News.