For the past week, Popeyes has enjoyed a success that it probably could not have fathomed a year ago. Countless memes, videos and posts have taken social media by storm all because the Louisiana-based fast-food company announced the addition of a new item that would otherwise be considered menial: a chicken sandwich. The announcement was even more significant because Popeyes advertisers laid back while Black Twitter users, in particular, seemed to help dish out an astronomical amount of free advertising that surely made Restaurant Brands International executives beyond thrilled.
On Aug. 12, Popeyes posted a tweet letting the world know that their new chicken sandwich was available nationwide. Black Twitter was among the first to share thoughts on the new menu item, which some called the best sandwich they ever had. That would seem to suggest that the more melanated segment of Twitter was among those users who helped give Popeyes $24 million in free advertising.
$23.25 million: Equivalent ad value in media mentions for “Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich” in first 11 days from Digital, Newsprint, Radio, TV and Social, according to @apexmarketing.
pic.twitter.com/cXhfrtDnqY— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 22, 2019
Though other fast food giants like Wendy’s, Shake Shack and the behemoth, Chick-Fil-A, tried to remind us that they, too, have chicken sandwiches, it was apparent that Popeyes chicken sandwich was king. As apparent proof, many patrons have reported long lines that go out of the door and drive-thru lines that spill out into the street. There have also been reports that some franchises ran out of chicken sandwiches to the dismay of customers eager to see what the hype is about.
There were also some social media users critical about Black Twitter’s role in Popeyes’ soaring popularity. Several tweets questioned why the Black community does not bring as much awareness around Black businesses.
This Popeyes mayhem was reminiscent of what happened in 2015 when a man posted a viral video praising Patti Labelle‘s sweet potato pies. Just in time for Thanksgiving, James Wright helped to introduce the world to Labelle’s pastries as he taste-tested one on YouTube in a video that has been viewed millions of times. Following the video, Walmart, which had been carrying the pies, quickly sold out of them while the pies received countless amounts of mentions on social media and news platforms.