- Popeyes chose McKinney as creative agency of record after an RFP process, according to a press release. The first campaign work from the partnership is due late spring.
- The agency will be responsible for brand strategy, creative development and creative production across all channels, tapping into its social, digital experience and creative capabilities.
- McKinney won the pitch by presenting insights about consumer love for the brand and its food and will leverage the brand's New Orleans roots and pay homage to the city's culture in its creative.
Popeyes has chosen McKinney as its AOR after first appointing the agency on an interim basis back in February while it went through the RFP process. For the previous three years, Gut had handled creative for the Restaurant Brands International chain and helped launch its category-changing chicken sandwich in 2019.
The agency, part of the Cheil Worldwide agency network, will handle brand strategy and the development and production of creative across all channels. In a press release, Popeyes called out the agency's knowledge for the food and beverage category, understanding of the franchise landscape and ability to connect to culture while driving business outcomes.
"McKinney comes to us with an incredible depth of restaurant experience and a reputation for producing creative that helps drive the business," said Popeyes CMO Jeff Klein in the press release. "We believe this change will help us accelerate the next stage of growth and create a world-class experience for our guests."
The first campaign work from the agency is due in late spring and will leverage the chain's roots in and culture of New Orleans that have frequently been the subject of its marketing efforts.
The account will be led out of McKinney's Durham office, with support from offices in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix. The 300-plus strong agency has recently picked up AOR assignments from Blue Diamond Almonds and Puma Running, with project work for AB InBev's Natural Light brand.
While its 2019 chicken sandwich launch helped kick off the so-called "chicken sandwich wars," Popeyes has not been able to sustain the growth and its marketing has cooled since a 2021 collaboration with rapper Megan Thee Stallion. Popeyes saw same-store sales grow by 3.8% in the most recent quarter, but growth stabilized at just 1.5% in the U.S.