This summer there was no shortage of social media banter between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. What started out as the launch of Popeyes’ chicken brioche sandwich erupted into a debacle that Twitter users will always remember as the chicken sandwich wars.
The nearly month-long series of events led to a serendipitous historic moment in marketing for Popeyes—and not to mention millions of engagements generated on both
On August 19, Chick-fil-A threw a subtle jab at Popeyes in response to its new nationwide chicken sandwich, one made of the same ingredients as Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich. Popeyes replied “…y
Thanks to the chicken wars, Popeyes doubled its Twitter following from 106,000 in early August to 187,000 as of today. According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, Popeyes received 1.1 million mentions and 6.8 million engagements from 110,000 unique authors. The conversation there was being led by 18-34-year-olds, 59 percent of which were men. Chick-fil-A’s Twitter presence grew from 1.03 million followers to 1.09 million followers, but the brand still set Twitter abuzz with 101,700 mentions and 1.4 million engagements from 14,400 unique authors. Similar to Popeyes, the demographic showing love for Chick-fil-A was led by 57 percent men.
The most viral tweet from the chicken wars, a 45-second video that received 337,200 engagements, shows a man expressing his newfound obsession with the taste of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich to his wife.
While Popeyes and Chick-fil-A were going at it, another competitor in the duel for chicken champion waited to attack—KFC. On August 26, the company announced it would be launching Beyond Meat chicken wings and nuggets for one day only at one Atlanta location.
Talkwalker reports that since then, there have been more than 6,000 mentions of KFC that reference its new Beyond chicken, generating 127,000 engagements from 5,300 unique users, 80 percent of which are under the age of 34.
“Overall KFC timed this announcement very well and was able to keep the virality around chicken rolling – but for themselves – which may be the biggest lesson from this story,” said Todd Grossman, CEO Americas at Talkwalker.