Back in 2019, Popeyes’ introduction of a fried chicken sandwich sparked a frenzy. The new item heated up the chain’s competition with dominant chicken purveyor Chick-fil-A and others.
Two years later, the world may have changed quite a bit, but the battle continues as hot as ever.
The old standards and the new entrants largely follow a similar format: fry a piece of white meat chicken, add pickles and sauce, put it all on an Instagram-worthy bun, and sell it for $3.99 or perhaps a bit more. While participation in the chicken sandwich wars seems almost mandatory among fast feeders, the advertising ideas vary widely.
Below, Ad Age recaps five of the chicken sandwich marketing moves that stood out—for better or worse—in 2021.
“We make the chicken sandwiches around here,” KFC declared on billboards featuring its chicken sandwich resting atop its famous bucket, strategically placed in March near McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King locations. They served as reminders to patrons visiting the burger giants of KFC’s chicken prowess, especially in the weeks and months after each of the top three burger chains released its own new take on the chicken sandwich. A commercial amplified the sentiment.