Friday, June 30, 2023

Chick-fil-A Winning with Interactive Participatory Branding


Do consumers know what your company stands for, sells, or supports?  Do consumers know what images, logos, or design elements that that will make your company and its products top of mind with them?  According to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® if your customers do not know, you had better.  If you don’t know it’s likely your customers will move on after a brief trial for a brand that has a recurring clear message that is relevant.

The American Marketing Association says that “A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”.

For example, you can consider a brand as the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about specific products, services, and activities of a company, both in a practical (e.g. “the shoe is light-weight”) and emotional way (e.g. “the shoe makes me feel powerful”).

It is therefore not just the physical features that create a brand but also the feelings that consumers develop towards the company or its product. This combination of physical and emotional cues is triggered when exposed to the name, the logo, the visual identity, or even the message communicated.

That said Chick-fil-A's mobile game, Code Moo, launched recently, providing weekly incentives for rewards members who play. That is a great example of a restaurant company reinforcing consumer focused interactive participatory branding according to Johnson.  

In case you did not know Chick-fil-A debuted a new digital game featuring its signature cows. Let’s let the fun begin with part of the press release:

“Code Moo, A Chick-fil-A Original Game,” as it’s technically called, is available at, and includes weekly missions released each Wednesday where loyalty members can help the chain’s signature cows sabotage the fictional Circus Burger brand. Circus Burger made its debut in a 2019 ad in which the cows took over the company’s boardroom. Each week, 2.5 million food rewards will be attainable for those playing Code Moo, including free nuggets, waffle potato fries, chicken sandwiches and more. In addition to the weekly food reward opportunities, participants who complete each challenge will be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win free Chick-fil-A for a year, a trip for two to the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship game and more.

Along with these incentives, the chain’s foray into mobile gaming is also likely to draw more Chick-fil-A One memberships. Newzoo reports that the global gaming market generated over $184 billion in revenue, with half of that coming from mobile gaming alone in 2022. A new study from and IDC shows that mobile gaming is outgrowing the gaming industry overall. Notably, mobile games aren’t new in the restaurant space as brands try to tap into this growing consumer trend, but more brands may be focused on creating such an opportunity now as they diversify their ad spend.

Chick-fil-A’s mobile app is the fifth most downloaded in the QSR segment, according to data from Apptopia, behind McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway and Taco Bell. In May, 827,000 consumers downloaded the brand’s app.

At the intersection or branding and marketing messaging, Chick-fil-A is celebrating its popular herd with the launch of The Cow Collection, the chain’s third merchandise line since its first collection debuted in November. The latest line includes beach towels, visors, a paddleball game and more, and will be available starting June 26 at, while supplies last. The chain will keep the spotlight on its cows all summer, including with an animated short film to be released in July and the brand’s first board game, called “Cow Party.”

Joe Saracino, Chick-fil-A’s senior vice president of brand, advertising and media, stated,  “The Chick-fil-A cows have been a beloved part of the brand for nearly three decades and carry a contagious spirit everywhere they go, reminding our guests to laugh and appreciate the little things around them,” . “We’re excited to have the cows back — so much so that we’re letting them take charge this summer. It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the fun they’re cooking up for all our guests.”

Consistency matters, Chick-fil-A’s cows made their debut on a billboard in 1995, alongside the chain’s “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign, created by The Richards Group. In 1997, the cows first appeared on TV. The campaign has been recognized throughout the years with awards from Effie, Cannes and OBIE, and in 2007, the cows were inducted into Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame.

Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 


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