Chick-fil-A, Inc. issued a letter to the Burger King Corporation complaining about Burger King’s copying of elements of Chick-fil-A’s long-running and well-known “Eat Mor Chikin” advertising campaign. In Burger King(R)’s recent advertising spots promoting the movie, Chicken Run, Burger King is using animated chickens and asking its customers to “Eat More Beef” — directly mimicking Chick-fil-A’s award-winning advertising campaign in which cows plead “Eat Mor Chikin(R).”

The letter, issued yesterday, serves as Burger King’s notification to stop airing their TV spots.

“The fully-integrated ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ campaign is the heart and soul of our business-wide marketing and promotional programs. Fortunately, it’s been a very successful campaign, but unfortunately, lots of people have tried to copy it. We trust Burger King will realize their error and respect the equity Chick-fil-A has developed in our distinctive and now famous cow campaign,” said Steve Robinson, senior vice president of marketing for Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Chick-fil-A further charges that Burger King’s overall “Save the chickens. Eat a Whopper” in-store promotions, along with the TV spots … “are a dilution of our trademarks and an infringement on our copyrights.” Chick-fil-A says “the wording, appearance and tone” of the overall Chicken Run related campaign are a direct imitation of its “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign.

“While imitation is always flattering, it is imperative that we protect our campaign’s integrity by forbidding such blatant infringements,” added Robinson. “If Burger King wants to discourage its customers from eating its own chicken sandwiches, that is their business. When they unashamedly impersonate our trademarked concepts and copyrighted expressions, it becomes our business.”

Since its debut in 1995, the “Eat Mor Chikin” cow campaign, created by Dallas-based The Richards Group, has attained critical success and recognition from the advertising community. The campaign’s awards include three of the advertising industry’s most prestigious awards: 1996 OBIE Award (outdoor advertising); 1997 Silver Lion-Cannes International Festival (outdoor advertising); and 1998 Silver EFFIE-New York American Marketing Association (creativity and effectiveness in advertising).

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“We are sure Burger King is fully aware of our ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ campaign since it tied them for second place (Silver) for the 1998 EFFIE Award for creativity and effectiveness in advertising,” said Robinson. “We have valuable marks and rights here, and we must protect them.”

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. has more than 920 locations in 34 states and South Africa. Chick-fil-A serves nutritious food products in malls, free-standing units, drive thru-only outlets, Chick-fil-A Dwarf House® and Truett’s Grill® full-service restaurants, and through licensed outlets in college campuses, hospitals, airports, businesses and industrial sites. More information about Chick-fil-A is available on the chain’s Web site, located at