DID POPEYE’S TAP INTO THE ‘CULTURAL CAPITAL’ OF BLACK FOLKS TO SELL CHICKEN?
Who has the better chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A or Popeyes?
It’s the burning question Black Twitter has been debating since last week.
As we previously reported, Popeyes launched its spicy fried chicken sandwich earlier this month and there wasn’t much hoopla about it until Chick-fil-A alluded to it Monday in a tweet that sparked a Chicken Sandwich debate among Black Twitter users.
Other fast food eateries joined in to boast about their own signature chicken sandwiches, including Wendy’s and Shake Shack.
Wendy’s tweeted “Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second-best chicken sandwich.”
Popeye’s responded with, “Sounds like someone just ate one of our biscuits. Cause y’all looking thirsty.”
By the end of the week, Black Twitter’s support of Popeyes new chicken sandwich helped the fast-food chain rack up $20 million in sales. Apex Marketing Group also released a report estimating Popeyes received $23.25 million in equivalent ad value, across digital, print, social, TV, and radio in just 11 days. Much of the hype can be credited to Black Twitter users raving about the sandwich.
But RollingOut writer A.R. Shaw wonders if Popeye’s co-opted Black culture to sell chicken?
With hip-hop and social media, people from around the world have had access to Black culture without having a real connection to Black people. The cultural capital of the Black community has often been co-opted by corporations seeking to add a cool factor to their products.
But it’s important to determine if those same companies are willing to deal with all aspects of Black life instead of just using Black slang to make money. Will those companies speak out against injustices and work to combat racial profiling, systemic racism, stereotypes, or police brutality? And are those companies willing to hire Black executives?
The article goes on to note the diversity and inclusion page on Popeye’s website: “We consider both diversity and inclusion as being integrated into our culture and all of our business practices. We take pride in creating a work environment that attracts and retains top talent; where diversity and inclusion are valued and leveraged to foster creativity, innovation, and thereby allow us to deliver results to our franchisees, our guests and our shareholders.”
Popeyes has more than 3,000 locations across 40 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Their spicy chicken sandwich has sold out at many locations, which has triggered brawls at many restaurants.
“This new chicken sandwich debate is another form of how social media can create a buzz,” said Trenell A. Harris, sales operations manager at Beam Suntory. “It starts with a simple Twitter feed of a Popeye’s chicken sandwich, then escalates to photos of long lines across all forms of digitalized media. And specific to African-Americans, whom many of these cultural references are targeted towards, this phenomenon is a trend we create. Why? A great majority of Popeye’s chains are located in the African-American community. Again, we spearhead a trend created by the media, but the victor in this whole situation are the fast-food chains.”