Chick-Fil-A and Jim Henson’s Creatures Fight P.R. War via Social Media

This is a study in something. We're not entirely sure what.

eyelids chickens m11 Chick Fil A and Jim Hensons Creatures Fight P.R. War via Social MediaChick-Fil-A is an Atlanta-based fast-food chain you may have heard of, whose chicken sandwiches have a cult following, but whose cult-like devotion to anti-gay causes have increasingly put them in the media spotlight. Except on Sundays. They are closed on Sundays.

All of this recently culminated in that telltale culture-news saturation point indicator, a withering segment about them on The Daily Show. And on Friday, The Jim Henson Company—which makes Muppet toys for Chick-Fil-As kids’ meals—cut ties with the company as well. So, how’s Chick-Fil-A fighting back?

The Daily Show‘s co-creator, Lizz Winstead, Tweeted out this photograph today:

623706621 1 Chick Fil A and Jim Hensons Creatures Fight P.R. War via Social Media

It appears to be from the Willow Grove Mall in lovely Willow Grove, PA. Blogger Joe My God found that they’re not the only one taking this message tactic:

Chick-fil-A is initiating a voluntary withdrawal for our Jim Henson Creature Shop Puppet Kid’s Meal Premiums due to a product issue (even though all puppets passed safety testing requirements). In lieu of the kid’s meal premium we will offer a Kid’s Icedream. We plan to have replacement kid’s meal premiums within 2 weeks. Thank you and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Now, technically, they’re not The Muppets, which Disney now owns, but Jim Henson creatures are all kind of informally common-noun “muppets,” no?  Either way, Chick-Fil-A is saying that the “voluntary recall” happened before The Jim Henson Company made their announcement: Essentially, that they recalled the product voluntarily, and The Jim Henson Company exploited the moment to take a stand.

Which seems unlikely, given both the “voluntary” nature of the product recall, as well as the varying messages each Chick-Fil-A franchise seems to be putting out.

When contacted for quote by the Huffington Post, The Jim Henson Company referred a reporter to their previous statement and basically told them to check in with Chick-Fil-A, but as The Consumerist pointed out, the recall is in fact “voluntary,” which refutes what the sign at the heart of this reads: That it’s a recall. Furthermore, they contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which issues recalls like the one that’d be required for the toys in question; they had no issues with the toys listed for recall action.

But essentially, what you have here is an anti-gay fast-food chain and The Jim Henson Workshop engaged in a P.R. war, with a confused media caught in the middle, attempting to interpret subtleties in messaging that have more or less been distributed through social media. It is mostly weird, and relatively funny.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek