Popeyes' drive-thru asks fans to take 12 hour trips for free chicken
- Popeyes will offer a 12-hour drive-thru on Nov. 9 and 10 to celebrate the 12-hour marinating process that the fast-food company uses for its fried chicken, according to a news release.
- Fans can place their orders at a standalone menu board on Interstate 10 outside Fort Stockton, Texas, and make the 12-hour road trip to the Popeyes flagship store in New Orleans to pick up their food. Billboards along the route count down how much time is left to the destination.
- Popeyes released a video, created by creative agency GSD&M, showing some customers who tested the drive -thru. Fans who can't make the long trip can share the video on Twitter using the hashtag #12HrDriveThru starting Nov. 9 for a chance to win 12 months of free chicken.
The 12-hour drive-thru stunt resembles recent marketing efforts from Burger King, whose parent company Restaurant Brands acquired Popeyes in 2017 for $1.8 billion. The company's marketing has shown a penchant for clever moves designed to excite customers and earn media attention coupled with explainer videos. For example, in April, Burger King "hacked" the Whopper into movie theaters in Peru inside a new King Popcorn product after the country began banning moviegoers from bringing their own snacks into theaters. The company made a video about the stunt and saw a 40% increase in sales.
Popeyes is using its 12-hour drive-thru stunt to highlight its signature fried chicken recipe and how it doesn't take shortcuts in the preparation. The fast-food brand seems focused on winning over younger consumers who care about the quality of their food and will appreciate the novelty of the stunt. Whether they'll drive 12 hours for fried chicken remains to be seen, however.
With the new campaign and chicken giveaway, Popeyes is also hoping to ramp up competition with rival KFC, which has seen success in reaching young people with its marketing efforts that include a renewed focus on its iconic mascot Colonel Sanders and gimmicks like fried chicken-themed merchandise.
The fast-food market has become highly competitive in recent years as the eating habits of younger consumers — typically one of the segment's largest demographics — have evolved. Millennials have spurned big-name chains like McDonald's for pizza, often showing a preference for smaller, local chains. Younger Gen Zers have shown a fondness for fast food, with Foursquare and Carat research showing that the cohort is 20% more likely to visit fast-food spots than older generations.