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Chick-Fil-A Says Too Much!
By: Aaron Whitaker
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The President of Chick-Fil-A created a social media firestorm this week when he told a Christian news site that the company does not support same-sex marriage. The company has always been known for its support of Christianity, with the most obvious example being that they are closed on Sundays. But should brands be more wary of taking public stands against politicized issues like gay marriage?
With the elections coming up in November, I see the possibility of this scenario happening more often as some businesses throw their support towards one candidate or one issue over another. While everyone is entitled to their opinions in this democracy that we live in, for businesses it can be risky. In the Chick-Fil-A instance, the president of the company made a comment about the company’s stance on gay marriage. It probably didn’t seem to be such a big deal on a Christian news site to state such an opinion, but with the power of the Internet and social media, it became a big deal. A business needs to understand that everything they say, no matter the situation or group, can easily spread outside the context of the group and situation.
The company did come out with a response on their Facebook page after the fire was blazing, but it was too little and too late to put out the fire. The reason their public stance on gay marriage spread so quickly throughout the social media sphere was that it’s a hot-button topic. It fired up gay marriage supporters who hit Twitter and Facebook and other sites to voice their disapproval of Chick-Fil-A’s stance on the issue. As a result, many customers have supported the idea of boycotting the restaurant as a result. I believe the company’s response was issued as a response to the threat of boycotts, but the response is not as newsworthy and viral in the social media sphere. The crowds are already stirred up and very passionate about voicing their disapproval; they aren’t going to settle down when a business throws out an obvious Band-Aid to quell the firestorm.
I will, however, say that, from the response, I do believe that Chick-Fil-A learned their lesson. In the response they said, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” For businesses that cater to large demographics that have many different political and social backgrounds, this is probably a good idea for any hot-button issue no matter how passionate you and/or your business is about it.

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About the Author
Aaron Whitaker is a copywriter, blogger, and social media aficionado who likes watching the TV commercials more than the actual shows. He prefers reading the magazine ads over the articles. And you can learn more about him online right here.
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