EMAILED ON August 23, 2019 BY Conor Grant

Popeye’s serves up a new chicken sandwich… with a spicy side of social media

Randy Risling/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Fast-food chicken chain Popeye’s recently released a fried chicken sandwich (you’ve probably heard about it).

The sandwich is, well… a chicken sandwich. 

But the seemingly straightforward announcement started an all-out fast-food feud across social media — and managed to garner coverage from The New York Times to the Washington Post to The New Yorker.

Popeye’s didn’t start this fast-food fire… 

This time, it was competitor Chik-fil-A, which responded to the release of Popeye’s new sandwich with an ad for its own “original” chicken sandwich — a move perceived as a jab at Popeye’s.

But even though Popeye’s didn’t light it, it chose to fight it, responding to Chik-fil-A with a Tweet that asked simply, “… y’all good?”

Then, social media really started sizzling as other chicken chains jumped into the fast-food fray with their own emoji-fueled roasts:

  • Wendy’s: “Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich.”
  • Shake Shack: “If you’re lookin’ for a chicken sandwich (without the beef 😉), you know where to find us.”
  • Zaxby’s: “Did🥪 someone🥪 say🥪 sandwiches? 🥪”

Fast food brands can’t just have flavor, they need flair

Wendy’s was famously the first major fast-food chain to develop a larger-than-life “personality” on Twitter, using its social media accounts to crack jokes and roast critics and competitors.

The strategy was so successful that other brands soon followed suit, and now sizzling social banter between fast-food chains on social media is standard fare.

This Popeye’s spectacle was a perfect example: Thanks to the extra attention, Popeye’s sold out of its sandwiches at many locations — and it also added more than 25k followers.