The Cow Appreciation Contest… A Year After the BIG Win!

Last year, on Cow Appreciation Day, a day when Chick-fil-A awards free food to its cow-look-alike customers, my herd took full advantage. The children got out white and black and excitedly designed their costumes.

CAD EVE! Anna, Sarah and Bethany are ready for the big day!

They laid them out, went to bed, and had dreams of what soft drink they’d order with their combo meal – a luxury for my gang because I usually insist on water when eating out. Before we left for the restaurant, we took a picture in our basement, using my son’s bedspread for a backdrop. My husband took the picture, his last words as we left for lunch being, “No, I don’t want to be in it! I’ll take the picture and if you win the national contest, I’ll buy my own chicken.”

The kids looked so awesome. We hung my son's comforter in our basement as a backdrop and took this winning picture!

Seven weeks later, we won the national contest. The prize… 52 meal coupons for each person in the picture!

The younger calves of our herd.

I owe the win to my facebook friends (especially my dad who I called my campaign manager!) and church family who found it fun to log on to facebook to vote for us and my friend Sarah who posted about our family on her blog which was then linked by several mom bloggers. I didn’t expect to win. Originally I just thought the children would enjoy seeing their picture in the contest. After two weeks of voting, we were voted into first place. It appeared that we had little competition until the last two weeks of the contest when a Star Wars storm-trooper cow entered and threatened (and took over a couple of times) our lead. Ultimately, CFA awarded both the Storm Trooper Cow and our family  grand prizes – a very diplomatic move as we both brought about 15,000 hits to the site. By the way, the other winner is awesome – a Christian guy with a sweet family who has since become a facebook friend! (See his winning picture on the official CAD site!)

Yesterday was CAD 2010 and yes, we attended again.

CAD, 2010. Anna is at camp and Nathan at tennis... so I borrowed a child - a friend of Bethany's!

We are not, however, entering the contest. I guess I should “never say never” but I can’t see myself entering any online contest again. While thankful to win, the contest began to take on a life of its own toward the end. I seriously had several strangers sending me negative facebook messages. There were slanderous comments written about me and my family. I definitely was given opportunity to pray for my enemies! (… and yes – all for chicken!) The competition grew pretty fierce and I began to wish it over. Thankfully, I’ve seen that Chick-fil-A has changed the contest to protect the privacy of the participants. To my knowledge, there is no way to search the participants by name and no links on the contest site to profile pages. Voters also can vote only once – not once per day for seven weeks. Whew! That was a long contest!

There is one change that I find disappointing. This year, children in a picture are not eligible to win prizes. There is a kids’ contest that children ten and under may enter. Only those 18 and older may enter the facebook contest. Children 11-17 are not eligible to win any prizes at all. While I am not at all seeking further publicity (I actually have been relieved not to see our picture “out there” after my contest experience), Chick-fil-A has not used our winning picture. I believe this is because they do not desire to promote families entering since all members aren’t eligible for prizes.  I do hope this rule is reconsidered and I’ve contacted the company expressing my thoughts (click link and you can do the same!)

Is Christina not the grooviest, most stylish cow ever?

My family has brought many other families to CFA as a result of winning the contest. We’ve treated moms and other children at  birthday parties at the restaurant. We’ve given CFA coupons as gifts. We’ve given them to families in need or in the hospital. My husband has even given them to clerks who’ve been especially helpful. I know children are not income-producing and thus can’t on their own patronize the restaurant. However, most families, if they know their children aren’t eligible to win, won’t enter the contest at all. Yet, my observation about CAD is that families take advantage and enjoy. The kids love it! Families bring other families to the store and families (including children!)  should be eligible to participate together in the contest! I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to do so with my children.

While I am not entering the contest, I am voting! I have three friends in the contest this year:

The first was a huge supporter of our herd last year. Her picture can be found here:

The second is a local friend of mine who can be found here:

And the third is also a mom to six! She is a blogging friend of mine and her picture can be found here:

Regardless of their decision about children in the contest, I am very grateful for Chick-fil-A’s family friendly atmosphere. All my children love eating there. The company honors the Sabbath by closing on Sundays and I praise God for that! They are a great company and our local Chick-fil-A is simply the best! They always go above and beyond in serving their customers. CFA has been my favorite place for a sandwich since I was a child living near the original CFA south of Atlanta and it will continue to be!

The children even dressed Tanner up as a cow!

… And for the record, Daniel didn’t buy his own chicken this year. Instead, he took little Esther’s coupons and bought her a kid’s meal with each visit. He got a combo and she got a prize – a win/win situation!

Esther and Mama. She loved dressing up this year!

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5 Responses to “The Cow Appreciation Contest… A Year After the BIG Win!”

  1. Nancy LeBlanc Says:

    I wondered how your children won prizes last year. I am sorry they changed the rules as I had uploaded my daughter’s photo as Justin Beefer, and when I realized that at age 13, she wouldn’t be eligible, I took another photo with my husband and she, and we uploaded the photo under his Facebook. I just wish I had read the rules better. I kept posting the question on the Chick Fil A Facebook page asking for official rules and whether or not my 13 year old would be eligible. I just wish Chick Fil A had not approved photos of people (and animals) who will not be eligible to win prizes. The photo of two dogs dressed as cows have garnered a large number of votes already. And the parents of the babies who are alone in the photos (and very cute) will be disappointed when they “win” but don’t win. By the way, my daughter has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, so when you aren’t asking for votes for your friend,please think of asking for votes for her. Thanks!

  2. Tina Says:

    Nancy, I absolutely agree! Why even post a picture that isn’t eligible for prizes? I don’t understand that. When I clicked your name, I saw your daughter’s picture. Is this the one you are entering or your husband’s picture with her?

  3. Josh Martin Says:

    Hi Tina! I enjoyed your blog post and your pictures are great!

    I’m actually one of the admins on the Chick-fil-A Facebook Page and I noticed you posted this link on one of the status comments.

    The reason we had to change the rules of the contest this year was so that we would be in compliance with legal and Facebook. Facebook changed their promotional guidelines at the end of last year, so we had to work with Facebook to make sure the Photo Contest met their guidelines. Thus, the reason we had to change the age requirements in terms of the prize eligibility.

    Appreciate the feedback as we want to make this contest fun for everyone and we look to improve on it from year to year.

    Thanks for being a fan of Chick-fil-A, too! We really appreciate all of our dedicated, passionate fans!

    Josh

  4. Tina Says:

    Josh, I appreciate your response. Thank you! I can understand needing to change if it’s important to use facebook as a platform for voting. However, my suggestion would be to run the contest through your own site – like you do the kids’ contest. The photo contests really do come across as anti teen/tween 🙁 Families like to take pictures together and I think would be the most willing to enter the contest and urge folks to vote. If the new rules make CFA appear discriminatory, I think I’d find another host for the contest! Again, thanks for the response!

  5. The Jobe Journal » Blog Archive » New Year’s Resolutions (without a spreadsheet) Says:

    […] I don’t need to break this goal down any further.  She keeps me accountable enough! Now that our Chick-fil-A coupons are gone, maybe the eating healthy part will be a little easier […]

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