It took just two words to start a war – a chicken sandwich war.
To keep up with the rising popularity of breaded-chicken sandwiches, Popeyes released its very own sandwich on August 12, 2019. Fans quickly took to social media to share their love for the product, and just two weeks after its launch, Popeyes sold out of its now famed chicken sandwich (which was originally intended to last through the end of September).
So, what ignited the Chicken Sandwich Wars and prompted the wildly successful Popeyes launch?
On August 19, Chick-fil-A sent out a tweet that read, “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the [heart emoji] for the original,” which appeared to be a jab at Popeyes and its chicken sandwich launch a week prior. So, the official Popeyes Chicken Twitter replied to the tweet with two words: “…y’all good?”
The tweet was simple, but the sass came full force. The two words essentially launched a nation-wide frenzy, sparking a giant debate over Twitter on who has the best chicken sandwich – Popeyes or Chick-fil-A. As the Twitter commotion intensified (and more brands joined in on the debate), so did the sales of the Popeyes sandwich. The hype around the launch took the “fast” out of fast food, with large crowds and long lines causing major wait times – that is, if you could even get your hands on one. Many locations quickly ran out of stock as the debate continued to dominate social media.
There was no telling what would ensue from Popeyes’ Twitter response, but there are surely no regrets from the fast food chain. It was a bold, risky move, especially considering that Popeyes was dealing with such a major competitor. But, it was also an intentional tweet that ultimately paid off and won the war. According to Forbes, Apex Marketing Group estimated that Popeyes earned $65 million in equivalent media value as a result of the viral who-has-the-best-chicken-sandwich debate.
Many companies would need to mull over whether or not to respond and confirm wording with multiple parties – including a legal team. It’s clear that Popeyes’ internal team had confidence in their brand voice and their ability to make a calculated move. In a world where social media is dominated by viral tweets, memes and videos, Popeyes read its audience well and benefitted greatly from its quirky two-word response.