Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Chick-fil-A’s feathers ruffled over bar’s spinoff campaign

July 13, 2006


Not everyone believes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

In fact, Doug Holiday - an owner of Lawrence's Bigg's Bar & Grill, 2429 Iowa - is learning in no uncertain terms that the folks at the large multinational restaurant chain Chick-fil-A don't think much of it at all.

Holiday received a letter from the company's law firm asking him to "cease and forever desist" using an advertising campaign that plays off Chick-fil-A's popular spots: a cow carrying a sign that reads, "Eat Mor Chikin."

Holiday had put his own spin on the marketing gimmick by hiring employees of his barbecue restaurant to dress in a chicken suit and carry a sign that read, "Eat Mor Pork, the other white meat."

"I don't think it is totally fair," said Holiday, who used the promotion as a way to draw attention to his restaurant that sits a good distance off South Iowa Street.

Officials with Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A declined comment on the matter, but their letter made it clear they believed Holiday was unfairly trying to tap into the success of their multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, which is protected by federal trademarks.

Warren Elliott, A Kansas University junior from Salina, displays a marketing costume and sign that soon will be retired from Bigg's Bar & Grill, 2429 Iowa. The days are numbered for the promotion, which the bar's owner had used for the past year, playing off a Chick-fil-A ad.

Warren Elliott, A Kansas University junior from Salina, displays a marketing costume and sign that soon will be retired from Bigg's Bar & Grill, 2429 Iowa. The days are numbered for the promotion, which the bar's owner had used for the past year, playing off a Chick-fil-A ad.

The letter said Holiday was attempting to "play off of and benefit from the extraordinary fame and goodwill" of the campaign in an effort to cause confusion and "dilute the distinctiveness" of advertising by Chick-fil-A, which operates a restaurant on the Kansas University campus.

Holiday admits the Chick-fil-A commercials were his inspiration for hiring the chicken mascot, which he sometimes employed as much as 20 hours per week.

"I guess we are playing off their fame, but I don't think anybody in Lawrence is going to confuse a little barbecue restaurant with Chick-fil-A," Holiday said. "We're pretty smart people here in Lawrence."

Bigg's Barbeque

2429 S. Iowa Street, Lawrence


So is Holiday gearing up to go toe to toe - or perhaps beak to beak - with the chicken conglomerate? Are the feathers set to fly?

"Nah, that's a pretty big corporation," Holiday said. "I think they may have a few dollars behind them."

That means, under terms of the letter, Holiday has until Saturday to put his advertising eggs in a different basket.

All that's left now, Holiday said, is to figure out what to do with the chicken suit.

"I might frame it and hang it on the wall with the cease and desist order," Holiday said.


geekin_topekan 11 years, 9 months ago

Probably the Hank Hill of Chikfila. "I sell chicken and chicken accessories."

Nikki May 11 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, someone had to report that. Weird

craigers 11 years, 9 months ago

I've heard there is a Chick Filet on the campus, so probably during a little corporate visit somebody drove by and saw that being used. We need a real Chick Filet in this town. Those sandwiches are so good. And to top it off I think a Fazolis would be cool here too.

thomgreen 11 years, 9 months ago

Funny how when it's the big guy that is getting their toes barely stepped on they pull out the big legal guns. Not only in this example, but also when Home Depot forced Old Home Depot to change their name. What's funny is that when it's vice versa, the big guy claims they have no legal obligation to the smaller guy. We're seeing this with that crappy Tommy Lee T.V. show where he put together a new band called Supernova. Oops...someone forgot to check though, and there is already a band called Supernova out there. The band has slapped the network and producers with a lawsuit but of course the big dog isn't backing off. They feel they stole,...I mean,...came up with that name all by themselves.

irishblues 11 years, 9 months ago

There was an all woman rock/blues band back in the 80's called the RubberMaids. They really rocked! They got a "cease & disist" order from, as you guessed, Rubbermaid. We had no idea how threatening they were. Actually Rubbermaid should have HIRED them for PR, they were that good.

ljb 11 years, 9 months ago

that's the cool thing about Bigg's, they are laid back. I love the atmosphere & food. The best brisket & sweet potatoe fries in town. Oh yeah, and icey cold Bass beer on tap...yummy! I think I hear a TGIF at Bigg's calling me...

christie 11 years, 9 months ago

I wonder when Google is going to go after Goggles?

Most business owners in Lawrence have no class at all, and are willing to steal other successful ideas without thinking twice. A really sad commentary.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

Big, out of town corporation needlessly attacks a locally owned business in Lawrence. Me thinks the CFA crack legal team failed to consult with the CFA P.R. department before sending the letter.

Instead of a single guy in a chicken suit holding a sign in front of Biggs, there will be a group of people holding signs of a different kind in front of the KU CFA. Smooth move, Ex Lax (oops, did I just get sued by Ex Lax?).

Did those hippies make bail? You know, the ones from the recruitment office? Instead of the fake blood stains on their shirts, they could have BBQ sauce stains this time.

craigers 11 years, 9 months ago

Biggs is awesome ottr. I don't know what you have been smoking. :) And ordering the sandwiches kind of makes you feel dirty, doesn't it? "I'll have a one-way, two-way, or even a freaky deaky three-way."

Linda Endicott 11 years, 9 months ago

Big business is so comical. Like this BBQ place is really a threat to their multi-million dollar chain.

All they succeeded in doing was bringing more free publicity to the BBQ place. And a little more animosity toward big business.

Their PR people really goofed on this one.

Alfred_W 11 years, 9 months ago

Been to Biggs twice, and find that there are better options. When you order a brisket sandwich and it tastes like catfish you have to wonder what's going on in the kitchen...

pylon25 11 years, 9 months ago

I don't think they are concerned about a "threat" to their multi-million dollar chain, I think it is based in the principal that they came up with the idea, put alot of money behind it to make it their slogan and what they are known for, and they feel it is unfair for any company, big or small, to ride the coattails of their expensive advertising campaign so blatently. And how is this a PR goof? Their is one CFA in this town and it is on campus. You think the students give a d@mn about the fact they sent a cease and desist letter to a local BBQ joint? The more intelligent ones likely understand why (myself included) and the others just think their sandwiches are yummy and don't care.

lunacydetector 11 years, 9 months ago

I watch a little TV now and then and I can't recall seeing any of Chick-fil-A's ads? Do they have them in KC or Topeka or something?

....Cat-fil-A, now, that'd be a name.

ike0000 11 years, 9 months ago

Not a big fan of Biggs either. Some of their food is decent. They don't have mashed potatoes and their beans are horrible. We do need a real Chick Fil A in Lawrence, along with a Fazoli's and Popeyes.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

Catfish brisket is the result of an unnatural act between a grazing animal and an aquatic lifeform. You really don't want to know any more than that. It has been banned in several southern states, but oddly enough, embraced by the Japanese as a delicacy.

jayhawks71 11 years, 9 months ago

I was thinking of opening and branding an office supply store "My Crow's Soft Office Products"which would be delivered quickly (as the crow flies); the office products would have a distinctive rubber-made character to them (the soft office products); and finally, it would be MY products, if that even needs to be mentioned. And of course, the face of My Crow's Soft Office Products would be a BLACK CROWE named RUSSELL that would be seen COUNTING your savings.

I wonder if I would hear from Redmond and the others. I think a few years ago a guy name Mike Rowe got a C and D from Redmond for his "mikerowesoft" website.

Ken Miller 11 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Briggs should just try to come up with something ORIGINAL instead of pilfering the dumb-a$$ "Eat Mor Chikn" marketing campaign. We're all better off cooking our own chicken and ribs at home, anyway.

gphawk89 11 years, 9 months ago

..."I don't think it is totally fair," said Holiday...

Well, Doug, it's a pretty blatant trademark violation.

..."We're pretty smart people here in Lawrence."...

Well, Doug, I guess not enough to come up with an original advertising gimmick rather than an obvious copy of someone else's work.

I wonder if just chaning the word "Mor" to "More" would have been enough to keep Chick-fil-A off Doug's back?

I don't mean to add fuel to the fire, but isn't "The Other White Meat" also a copyrighted phrase?

westernksgirl 11 years, 9 months ago

Guy and Mae's. Best ribs, it's a drive (Williamsburg) but worth it, if you don't mind not having many side dish selections and no plates!

craigers 11 years, 9 months ago

gphawk, just for the record according to Mike Meyers, "Baby, the other other white meat."

acg 11 years, 9 months ago

Ahh Guy & Mae's. They do have the best ribs. The last time I went they wrapped them up in newspaper and just put them on a tray. Do they still do that westernksgirl?

ktag 11 years, 9 months ago

I had to add a comment because Biggs, in my opinion, offers the best "from-scratch" meal you can get in Lawrence. AND, it is locally owned. That means its owners are from Lawrence, pay taxes in Lawrence and buy goods and services in Lawrence. If anyone has been in the restaurant business, they know how hard it is to start and run a restaurant, especially one with good quality food and service. And, it is even harder to start a successful restaurant without the help of a franchise. This is what makes Lawrence unique--it's locally owned restaurants and shops. Those of you who suggest that Lawrence needs more franchises don't hope for the same Lawrence, KS that I do. As for the Chick-fil-A issue: perhaps they should have considered the trade mark issue. But, I personally hope this brings them more advertising and business, because I want them to be serving food in this town for a long time. If you haven't tried Biggs you should. It's the best.
P.S. Their beans are to die for. I think I'll get take-out today.

EasilyAmused 11 years, 9 months ago

"The other white meat" is copyrighted by the pork board, funded by the pork checkoff - so I think that they would be thrilled to see others promoting pork

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 9 months ago

as dumb as the subject is I guess it is a bit of a violation but what the heck I really don't care if biggs used there slogan, kinda, sub. pork for chicken of course. I do not think the cust. really care one way or another they will keep going only if they like the food not the slogan.

rokchoklawhok 11 years, 9 months ago

don't care...can't stand the food. They're beans aren't "to die for," but rather life threatening. VT Street BBQ is the best in Lawrence.

n8n2010 11 years, 9 months ago

BOYCOTT CHICK-FIL-As!!! Support local businesses.

mseybold 11 years, 9 months ago

Is it really effective to advertise with people dressed up in costumes anyway? How many of you actually drive by a dude in a chicken costume, slam on the brakes and turn in to eat? My response usually is, "poor b@$tard." and down the road I go.

trinity 11 years, 9 months ago

YES acg, guy&mae's do the ribs just as they've always done 'em, wrapped in foil, presented on newspaper, you undo your foil to find a couple slices of good ol' white sandwich bread on top of those luscious, tender, juicy ribs...damn, i need a guy&mae's fix!!! oh, and you can buy the sauce to bring home if you'd like; couple bucks gets you a good sized bottle-what was in another life a water bottle, no joke(i'm sure it is immaculately clean)-with their label on it, refills i think are a buck if ya bring it back.

color me g&m's #1 fan! :)

Jillster 11 years, 9 months ago

I'd like Vermont St BBQ better if they used commercial white bread with their meals. Don't get me wrong...I love Great Harvest bread, but IMO the flavor of the bread doesn't go well with the flavors of barbecued meat and bbq sauce.

I like Biggs' selection of side dishes. Not the usual stuff!

jayhawks71 11 years, 9 months ago

msey, your scenario is not the goal of advertising. Ultimately, the place becomes memorable and most people forget why; that is the goal of the gimmick. A lot of people probably think "how stupid/silly" laugh and move on. The place becomes associated with good feelings and increases the likelihood that you will go there. We like to think we are smart and not swayed by advertising. It works; billions are spent on it because it works.

Jillster, I realize its a matter of taste preference, but when I get a sandwich at Vt St. I end up eating the bread with BBQ sauce on it and the meat separately. I think they go very well together.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

I'm boycotting CFA for the next week, in protest!

[which won't be hard since i've never eaten at one]

Vt. Street: very, very good; bad beans.

Gran-daddy's: great meat, but you gotta wear dark sunglasses so no one notices you going in. People might think you are going to the strip club next door. Also, the cheap-o management charges for extra sauce (bad customer relations).

Biggs: not impressed at all. Went once. Yawn. First time I ever had a white tablecloth at a BBQ place, though.

Quicks & Pat's Blue Ribbin: like it was cooked in an oven at home by someone who didn't know the first thing about ribs. I don't know WHAT they thought they were doing.

Buffalo Bobs: I once witnessed Bob Schumm threaten a college student with legal action for her negative comments to the UDK about his leadership as a city commissioner. Since then, I've been a little "down" on Bob. (I guess I can expect a legal threat, now.)

Confrontation 11 years, 9 months ago

Maybe he should send the chicken back out with this sign:

"Don't be a Chick-fil-A Dork Come get Bigg's Pork"

Sounds a little dirty, but that's what Lawrence likes.

jayhawks71 11 years, 9 months ago

And what about fancy white bread?

The bread I got at Vt. Street was just fancy white bread.

You aren't actually calling bread that you buy in the store for 1 dollar a loaf white BREAD are you? LOL.

wysiwyg69 11 years, 9 months ago

after you go to grovers bbq on gage street in topeka ,then tell me there is a better slab of ribs.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

Is the Grover's the same as used to be in Wichita? Grover Jackson's place?

Lisia 11 years, 9 months ago

I like the spinach salad at Biggs, with the grilled chicken on top. I don't think I've really ever gotten past that to try anything else there.

mooseamoose 11 years, 9 months ago

wow -craigers is getting all dirty with freaky deaky three ways.

You go Bibleman!!

jayhawks71 11 years, 9 months ago

Bibleman... Willie Aames lives in Olathe, although he is listed under his real name.

mooseamoose 11 years, 9 months ago

oops - I was mistaken. craigers is BibleBoy.

craigers 11 years, 9 months ago

You gonna be alright moose? Christians can joke around too, you know? :)

pz5g1 11 years, 9 months ago

I doubt CFA wants to mess with this anymore than the BBQ joint. But they must protect their copyrights in small as well as big cases or risk losing legal protection of the copyrighted material.

eskimopieinKS 11 years, 9 months ago

I love Arthur Bryant's in KC. They are pretty close to a halfway house that I had a friend in-he kicked crack but now preaches the virtues of a pile of barbecue and 6 pieces of white bread per person. Sauce is out of this world too. Got me hooked. Think they got a halfway house for that?

eskimopieinKS 11 years, 9 months ago

OMG he just called Arthur Bryant's cracktastic

no you di un't

...screaming with laughter

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