A recent headline about the backlash from the comment made by Chik Fil A CEO, Dan Cathy, has stirred up a lot of controversy. For business owners, this is another reminder about the intimate integration of work and life; the speed at which news travels in the information age and the impact of viral campaigns and Social Media on business.
· The entire debate stemmed from a comment made by the company’s CEO regarding his personal views of marriage. See a viral timeline here.
· This personal view was then interwoven into the fabric of his business and sent to trial in the court of public opinion. This led to:
o Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declaring that August 1 would be Chick-fil-A appreciation day, which resulted in reported long lines for the franchises nationwide.
o An event planned by same-sex couples for public displays of affection on Friday for the newly declared - "National Same-Sex Kiss Day"
o Boston Mayor Thomas Menino stating to the Boston Herald last week he doesn't want Chick-fil-A in his city.
o The company issuing a statement that "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena,"
· Thousands flocked to Social Media platforms to express their views and to make their own statements.
o Sarah Palin and her husband used Facebook to show their patronage of the company.
o Mike Huckabee created a Facebook event to encourage supports to participate in Chick Fil A Appreciation Day.
o Chick Fil A trends on twitter on August 1, as people voiced their opinions online
While the basis behind the opinions differs among people and the long-term impact is unknown, it is certain that chicken is no longer just chicken!