Popeyes created the Red Stick Staredown campaign to differentiate its chicken to its target audience, drive visits to Popeyes stores, and secure earned and social media mentions and traditional press. To do this, it created a mobile app that let customers play a game of chicken with a chicken.
Objective and Context:
There are many restaurants in the quick-serve restaurant category that offer chicken on their menus, so Popeyes created the Red Stick Staredown campaign to differentiate its Red Stick Chicken to its target audience. It also wanted to drive visits to Popeyes stores and secure earned and social media mentions and traditional press.
Popeyes customers are very engaged with the fast food industry. They are well-versed in the menus and deals at many restaurants and know how each stacks up. They are ethnically diverse, digitally savvy, aged 25 to 49 years old, and use computers, mobile phones, and gaming systems. Eighty-five percent of them use digital to keep in touch with people and to keep up with news.
Popeyes Red Stick Chicken is premium tenderloins marinated in TABASCO. The TABASCO pepper growers use a tiny painted red stick to tell if a pepper is ready to be harvested, which takes a lot of patience. Popeyes decided it would turn this into an opportunity by seeing if its audience had the patience of a pepper grower. To do this, it created a mobile app that let customers play a game of chicken with a chicken.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The life span of the campaign was just over 30 days because this was the length of time that Popeyes Red Stick Chicken was available in-store. However, by creating a mobile app, the brand kept Popeyes top-of-mind long after the offer ended. To drive awareness, it leveraged paid media within other mobile apps to promote downloads. It also capitalized on its social media followers with organic posts on different social channels.
The Red Stick Staredown was a mobile app that pitted players against a feisty chicken in a staredown, or game of chicken. For every second that passed, a red pepper was earned, but when players blinked, they lost. Popeyes also added 200 distractions to the game.
The campaign budget was below $80,000, with 100 percent of it going toward the development of the mobile app and the media that supported driving installs, engagement, and product awareness.
The Red Stick Staredown used facial recognition software typically found on a desktop computer. The app was built for two platforms, iOS and Android, and employed elements of each into the gameplay. The average game was played for 49 seconds, creating more engagement with Popeyes than what would have been possible with the corresponding Red Stick Chicken television spot.
The campaign achieved its objectives, bringing greater awareness to Red Stick Chicken than any previous limited-time offer. Overall media impressions reached 68 million, eclipsing previous promotions that garnered 11 and 24 million respectively. The previous Popeyes limited-time offer site received an average of 35,000 visits per month. The Red Stick Staredown mobile app promotion nearly doubled the site’s traffic to 66,000 visits per month.