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A Peck in the Chicken War

June 8, 2021

If you're going to troll a competitor, this is how it's done.

As I’ve written before, I’m not a big fan of corporations getting involved in political controversies, especially ones that don’t directly affect business. Regardless of your personal feelings, making pronouncements on divisive social issues usually does nothing to create shareholder value, and in some cases may actually diminish it.

But having said that, I have to add: If you’re going to go down that road, go big. And it doesn’t get any bigger than Burger King trolling Chick-fil-A on Twitter.

A bit of background: Several national fast food chains are getting into chicken sandwiches in a big way, to the point where it’s becoming hard to find enough chicken. Of course they’re gunning for Chick-fil-A, the long-established leader in fast-food chicken sandwiches.

Chick-fil-A has drawn criticism for years due to its CEO, Dan Cathy, publicly opposing same-sex marriage. The company has toned down that stance but never explicitly backed away from it. It’s part of what management conceives to be the company’s Christian principles, which also include staying closed on Sundays.

That’s what Burger King is getting at with this tweet referencing Gay Pride Month:

The donation referred to in the tweet is 40 cents per sandwich.

As trolling goes, this is masterful. Notice how 1) they keep the tweet positive, keeping the emphasis on the purportedly good things they’re doing rather than making a direct attack, and 2) they’re not déclassé enough to actually spell out their rival’s name.

And who knows? Maybe there are enough consumers out there, gay or not, who care about this issue enough to actually throw their business Burger King’s way. Or at least try the sandwich, which is usually the point when you’re promoting a new product.

So, to Burger King: Well done, your majesty.

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