- Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of its fried chicken sandwich with a campaign focused on the unexpected changes of 2020, according to a company announcement.
- The effort, developed with agency Gut, positions the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich as something that consumers can rely on in a year in which nothing else seems stable. The restaurant brand is looking to cut 2020 off early and officially kick off 2021 with a Times Square countdown celebrating the menu item.
- The party goes down today, Aug. 19, a year after Popeyes' chicken sandwich took off on Twitter with a tweet that read, "Y'all good?" The brand will be offering free delivery to mark the occasion.
It has been a long year since the chicken sandwich wars set social media ablaze and put Popeyes' brand name back on the rise. With the one-year anniversary of the viral menu item launch, the chain is introducing a campaign that looks to take people's minds off the chaos of 2020 in a humorous way, recreating the idea of a Times Square ball drop that typically rings in the New Year with a big out-of-home advertising buy.
In the lead-up to the event, Popeyes' Twitter account has been cataloging this year's disruptions, many stemming form the coronavirus pandemic, which has had a harsh impact on restaurants. Posts are posed as questions, such as "Gyms closed?," "Beaches closed?" and "Homeschooling 24/7?" A 15-second ad reflects the uncertainties, nodding to the cancellation of college football, music festivals and the banning of a favorite app, a likely reference to video-sharing platform TikTok's troubles in the U.S. Popeyes' mock print ads read: "Still 135 more days of never-ending 2020?," before affirming "At least we still have the chicken sandwich."
Despite all the uncertainty, the last 12 months have been a success for Popeyes. Last summer, when the brand revealed its fried chicken sandwich on Twitter, the impact was immediate, with social media conversations peaking between Aug. 17th and Sept. 1, with 338,000 conversations about the fast-food chain and its product, according to press materials. Popeyes has sold 203 million chicken sandwiches to date, according to data shared by the company.
The chicken sandwich has remained a bright spot as Popeyes' parent Restaurant Brands International (RBI) experiences other hurdles related to the pandemic. The company's revenue fell 25% year-on-year to $1.05 billion in second-quarter earnings reported earlier this month, while Popeyes saw same-store sales — a key metric for restaurants — jump 25%, in part due to sustained consumer interest in the chicken sandwich.
With the momentum, Popeyes in May unveiled a new brand identity, including a refreshed logo, iconography and color palette. Popeyes also revamped the interior and exterior designs of its restaurants and is piloting the new look at a location in Marrero, Louisiana. The refurbishment aims to elevate the brand and appeal to audiences searching for clean and modern establishments to dine in once pandemic-related restaurant closures relax.
In the meantime, Popeyes is also promoting its delivery service with free delivery around the one-year anniversary of the chicken sandwich. Consumers that try the service and find it useful might be willing to pay to do so more regularly.
The New Year's in August concept follows a similar campaign from sister RBI brand Burger King last month, when the chain celebrated Christmas in July. Burger King's effort aimed to end the year early and make it Christmas, promoting a two-for-$5 "unwrapping deal" that allowed diners to choose among several different sandwiches enclosed in holiday-themed wrappers.