Chick-fil-A has temporarily put a stop to its ad campaign, which features cartoon cows persuading consumers to choose chicken instead of beef, citing sensitivity surrounding concerns over mad cow disease.
“We wanted to be pro-active and take the high road,” said Jerry Johnston, a Chick-fil-A spokesperson. “The campaign was scheduled to kick off this week and we simply delayed it and put it on hold while we continue to monitor the events taking place with mad cow disease.”
The first U.S. case of mad cow disease was reported in a single Holstein cow last month in Washington. At presstime, three herds had been quarantined.
The postponed campaign includes new in-store and direct mail advertising and was scheduled to launch this month. The company is also scrutinizing advertising, including an Atlanta billboard featuring a hypnotic cow urging consumers to eat chicken.
“The bottom line is that it is not our intention to make light or take advantage of any food or safety issues,” Johnston said. “We are still encouraging folks to eat more chicken, although we are delaying any advertising and marketing materials that specifically reference the consumption of beef.”
Chick-fil-A, a restaurant chain featuring chicken dishes, will continue to monitor the news surrounding mad cow disease before releasing a date for the campaign’s re-launch. Stores are continuing with the current “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign, which includes its cow superheroes calendar, he said.
In other news, South Dakota cattle producers are giving away $5 discount coupons, known as Beef Bucks, at Kessler’s Grocery in Aberdeen and will speak with consumers to encourage beef consumption. The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association hopes to convince people both in the U.S. and abroad that beef is safe to eat. Local farmers, ranchers and businesses contributed $1,500 to finance the coupons.
Meanwhile, the Wyoming Beef Council will provide literature about mad cow disease to grocery stores, meat counters and restaurants.