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Brief Published: 16 Jul 2014

Chick-fil-A’s Healthy Eating Mag

Extra
Chick-fil-A's Let's Gather web magazine

Chick-fil-A – the fast-food brand from the American South known as much for its social conservatism as its fried chicken burgers – has launched an online healthy food publication.

In Let’s Gather, articles on superfoods, wellness and exercise nestle among artful, Instagram-esque photography of lush organic produce. Chick-fil-A is following the example of American restaurant chain Chipotle, which aligned itself to values of sustainability and authenticity via a series of innovative, branded-content marketing campaigns. See Chipotle: The Next Netflix? for more.

When done well, this kind of content strategy can lend credibility to a brand’s story. And such a shift in branding is not without precedent in the fast-food industry: McDonald’s has done a huge amount of work over the past decade to communicate a more transparent, healthy image. See Seven Approaches to YouTube Storytelling for insight into its Your Questions campaign.

Nonetheless, Chick-fil-A’s publication has raised a few eyebrows due to a perceived mismatch between its newfound granola-and-backpacking ethos, and its fast-food reputation. Comparing the campaign to Chipotle’s, Jillian Richardson, writer for brand publishing agency Contently, comments: “Unlike Chick-fil-A, Chipotle actually takes steps to ensure that their content is consistent with their products and values.”

Chick-fil-A can afford to experiment with its marketing (revenues were up 9.3% this year at $5.1bn) and has also begun ‘cleaning up’ its ingredients – offering grilled chicken and salads, as well as moving towards removing artificial ingredients. But in an era where millennial consumers cherish authenticity and trust (see The New Masculinity: What Men Want for examples), brands need to ensure that the values they espouse align with their business practices.

 

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