On Aug. 19, Twitter reasserted itself as a major influencer of culture — and chicken sandwich sales.
On that fateful day, Chick-fil-A, a popular fried chicken chain, tweeted this: “Bun+Chicken+Pickles = all the [heart] for the original.” And thus, the Great Chicken War of 2019 began.
Enthusiasts of fried chicken quickly noticed the sly move Chick-fil-A had made: the company’s tweet suggested that its fried chicken sandwich came first. Another popular fast food chain, Popeyes, had something to say about this.
The tweet was simple, concise and pretty funny. While also quoting Chick-fil-A’s earlier tweet, Popeyes — or should I say the advertising agency that runs Popeyes' Twitter— tweeted “Y’all good?” Basically suggesting that something was wrong with Chick-fil-A for implying that its sandwich came first. As of Sunday, this tweet had 325,000 likes and 88,000 retweets. The result of this short exchange between the two fried chicken restaurant chains is something that Popeyes won’t dispute: sales.
For Popeyes, sales of its chicken sandwiches reached unmanageable levels. They announced, eight days after the Twitter exchange, that there were no more chicken sandwiches. They had sold out. One tweet led to a national fast food chain selling out of a product.
Events like this show how powerful social media is in today’s culture. Large companies know this and they employ professional advertising agencies to maximize their influence in the sphere of social media.
GSD&M is the advertising agency that sent out the Popeyes' tweet. The list of clients that this agency has is impressive: Southwest Airlines, Dodge, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Goodyear and Pizza Hut, among others. Chick-fil-A doesn’t keep its Twitter account in-house either. McCann NY represents Chick-fil-A, Facebook, Microsoft, Mastercard, Verizon, The Coca-Cola Company and other high-profile companies.
These lists represent the broader picture of how business is done in today’s corporate culture. Large companies represent and/or own many different businesses. The tweets sent out on Aug. 19 weren't products of a simple social media intern; they were produced by advertising behemoths.
The illusion of a unique voice for every company with a social media account is enticing; it makes you feel more personally connected to the company. This is the exact goal of these advertising agencies, and the fact that Popeyes sold out of their signature sandwich shows how successful these agencies have been.
This success stems from shrewd marketing strategies that are becoming more mainstream. Social media such as Instagram and Twitter are free; all you have to do is sign up with an email. According to statista.com, Instagram has roughly 1 billion active users, while Twitter clocks in at about 330 million active users. A significant percentage of humans use these social media platforms. These aspects of Instagram and Twitter make them perfect vehicles for advertisement. Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, and others are beginning to realize that social media is the future of advertisement.
Popeyes' locations across the country are currently feeling the impact of this future.
It was nothing short of enthralling to watch the Great Chicken War of 2019 unfold. Personally, I prefer Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches every day of the week.