Chicken Sandwich Coverage Gave Popeyes $23 Million in Free Advertising

People are mad for buttermilk-battered chicken filet on a brioche bun

The Year of the Chicken Sandwich Boosting US Poultry Industry?
The Popeyes chicken sandwich. (Popeyes)

If you’ve been on the internet in the past week or so, you’ve probably seen a story about the new chicken sandwich that Popeyes rolled out in order to compete with Chic-fil-A’s signature offering.

That’s because there have been countless articles (like this one) about the menu staple, which features a buttermilk-battered chicken filet on a toasted brioche bun topped with pickles and either mayo or spicy Cajun spread.

All that coverage has paid off in a big way for Popeyes as many stores are selling out of the sandwich and a secondary market for the sandwiches has even popped up in some locations.

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In addition to helping Popeyes improve its bottom line, all the chicken coverage has had some serious cash value for the chain.

“Various sources said Popeyes earned anywhere from $20 million to $23 million from its new chicken sandwich and the controversy that attended its reveal,” according to the International Business Times. “One source, Apex Marketing Group, estimated Popeyes earned $23 million in equivalent ad value across digital, print, social, TV and radio in just 11 days since Aug. 12.”

For what it’s worth, the head of Restaurant Brands, the company that owns Popeyes, says the sandwich’s success has been somewhat of a surprise.

“You can do all the social media buzz that you want but if you don’t have a great tasting product, people won’t react the way that they have,” Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil told Yahoo Finance. “We didn’t expect this type of reaction.”

Cil also pointed out the company began testing the fried chicken sandwich in Houston a year ago.

Who knew? Apparently not the media.

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