If you are online at all, you have seen Chick-fil-a's storm... disaster... in the media and on the social scene. They have really been taking a hit... and nothing is being done about it from their social or PR team. Boy Scouts of America is probably thanking them for getting their name out of the media these past few days.
From the Mayors of Boston and Chicago urging Chick-fil-a out of their cities, to lying about reasons for toy recalls, to accusations of social media impersonations and seemingly lost control of their social media pages, to an all out media war and storm... the fried chicken company is suffering.
Shell isn't doing so hot either. Greenpeace and Yes Men (anti-Shell groups) have created an entire website, a YouTube video gone viral, fake ads and a fake social media response team Twitter account for Shell.
What can brands do when they lose control?
Sometimes, there does not seem to be much you can do. Waiting for the storm to pass does not seem to be doing anyone any good either.
For Chick-fil-a, I think they could have avoided a lot of this by openly stating the real reason they pulled the Jim Henson Company toys from their stores. Everyone knows the Jim Henson Company withdrew their partnership from Chick-fil-a and said they would be donating future checks from Chick-fil-a to pro-gay organizations.
It would have been okay for Chick-fil-a to say they were pulling the toys because the partnership was over. What's not okay is to blame it on "toy recalls" for "safety" reasons.
Should brands take religions/political stances on issues?
I really think it's up to the company. I was really proud of Oreo's gay pride post, but some people weren't and said they were boycotting Oreos [not realizing they would really have to boycott all of Kraft, not just Oreos].
For Chick-fil-a it was not really a surprise for them to take a stance against marriage for everyone. I think every brand has a right to proclaim what they want and they stood for what they believed. What I don't think they should have done was immediately back down when they got a ton of backlash for it.
This was Chick-fil-a's post on July 19:
If you're going to make a statement that does seem to alienate an entire segment of our population, don't back down from it and say you're going to leave it to the political arena now. You're already involved.
I have no clue what Chick-fil-a is going to do - but I really think they should do something quickly. This does not seem like it is going away anytime soon. It's time for them to make a statement and do some damage control. Good luck!