Popeyes is apparently staffed with marketing masters, as it keeps hitting home runs – and even wins consumer love during a pandemic. How do they keep knowing what will resonate and create viral sensations? We have five ways brands should adapt their Covid-19 marketing to emulate the spicy chicken brand’s success.

Winning Combo for Consumer Love

The quick serve company launched the “Fried Chicken and Chill” campaign, in its latest bit of brand awesomeness. It offered to share its Netflix account with the first 1,000 people to post a photo of themselves eating Popeyes chicken on Twitter, with the hashtag #ThatPasswordFromPopeyes.


Frying Up Success

With people scrambling to upload posts to Twitter, Popeyes catapulted itself, once again, into the public conversation and endeared itself to its fanbase. Your brand can capture brand love as well, by following these five steps:

 1. Take Risks

Brands need to be willing to “go big or go home,” more so now than ever before.  Capturing consumers’ attention and business requires taking risks, without taking it too far. It’s a fine line to walk. Popeyes has mastered this strategy by putting its focus on online advertisements and facing its competition head-on.

The Chicken Sandwich War it had with Chick-fil-A offers a case in point. After a bit of one-sided ribbing on its part, consumers were quick to take over. And consumer generated content is almost as great for a brand as word of mouth online, particularly when it’s funny:


The trick is this: Brands need to be bold, but not obnoxious. And of course, it all depends on the next tip – brand voice.

2. Know Your Brand Voice

Brands need to be aware of the attitude and personality they convey, as that can directly affect consumer sentiment and profit. Knowing your brand’s voice is key in communication and marketing to your target audience. The voice Popeyes has taken is one of irreverence, and it is an overwhelmingly hit with consumers.


Winning brands find the spirit and voice of their company and find ways to creatively use it to engage and win over consumers.

But brands also need to be able to analyze customer experience to be sure it’s working. Because what your brand thinks it knows about CX is irrelevant.

3. Get Your CX Eggs in Order

Even the most well-thought out ad can go sideways. Being able to recognize consumer sentiment and act upon it quickly can make or break a company. After Popeyes announced its #ThatPasswordFromPopeyes offer, customers were quick to respond.


And we can look at customer insights reviews, and posts, and gauge consumer sentiment around this campaign.


We can see a decent, though lukewarm net sentiment score (49%, on a scale from -100 to 100), considering it was a free offer.

Exploring the root of the discontent, we find quite a few posts complaining about Popeyes commercials. Most are not suitable for publishing, but it’s certainly something the quick serve giant should consider:


This shows why every brand really needs to be closely monitor customer data and feedback – even when you’re doing an amazing job online. It doesn’t take much for that wave of discontent to morph into a tsunami if left unattended.

And discontent is just beneath the surface, as Coronavirus continues to bring uncertainty to people around the globe. So, companies also need to be giving and thoughtful in their marketing.

4. Be Giving and Thoughtful, Especially Now

As isolation becomes the norm, consumers are searching for empathy now more than ever. By offering free access to Netflix, if even for a month, Popeyes has created a sense of family and belonging – a gesture that has certainly generated plenty of loyalty and kudos for the company:


Brands that are taking the time to spread kindness are being noticed and will be remembered by consumers. But, just in case it isn’t, socially savvy companies have consistent monitoring in place.

5. Watch Online Like a Chicken Hawk

The fastest way to lose business online is to not pay attention to what customers are talking about in your category, or about you. Leading brands recognize the importance of social media listening and are proactive in their marketing.

In 2019, Popeyes gave $10,000 of its food to a woman who mistakenly gave them tons of excellent – and free – PR, when she announced a wrong answer during a Family Feud episode. She was so sure that Popeye the Sailor-man’s favorite food was chicken, that she set the internet on fire.

She didn’t win Family Feud, but she won lots of chicken!


Popeyes could have easily missed this moment; however, its marketing team was able to turn what could have been just another embarrassing game show moment into a viral gold mine, garnering free publicity, increased profits, and a powerful influencer named Eve Dubois.

Stay alert online, or risk missing golden opportunities to connect with consumers – and potential influencers.

Don’t Be Chicken

Consumers are bombarded with commercials and online advertisements. With the ability to watch ad-free TV and skip advertisements everywhere, brands have to climb that annoyance wall. To do this, they must take calculated risks, know their brand voice and empathize with their audience.

Reach out and we’ll show you how to use social analytics to make your brand the master of its online domain, just like Popeyes has.

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