When a fast food chain says it’s sold out of a product, you’d probably expect to see the item back on sale within 24 hours.
In this case, it’s been two months.
Near the end of August, Popeyes announced that its new chicken sandwich—which had become a viral phenomenon fueled by Black Twitter and amplified by widespread news coverage—was out of stock. The chain had burned through two months’ worth of supply in just two weeks, and execs were notably silent about when it would return.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, creating a dangerous cooling-off period for the seemingly red-hot brand.
Today the chain finally announced that the chicken sandwich will return to its menu permanently on Sunday, Nov. 3. And while the coming weeks will tell whether the sandwich still has its mass-hysteria mojo, for now the brand seems content to just go back to poking some fun at closed-on-Sunday competitor Chick-fil-A.
When it comes to the surprising length of the sandwich drought, Popeyes execs have been light on specifics about what took so long. According to recent news reports, some Popeyes operators have been staffing up in preparation of the sandwich’s return and will reportedly have two employees staffed solely with preparing the sandwich each day.
Bruno Cardinali, head of Popeyes marketing for North America, tells Adweek that the chain simply wanted to wait until all the pieces were in place for a successful—and lasting—return
“The response to our new chicken sandwich was truly extraordinary and unprecedented,” he says. “Even though we had inventory to fulfill a very strong demand, the cultural phenomenon that ensued was something no one could have predicted. Word traveled fast when our fans experienced the delicious sandwich firsthand and couldn’t wait to tell the world. We’re incredibly grateful for the love our guests have shown us. Since the launch, we’ve worked hard to make sure we have all of the amazing ingredients ready to bring the sandwich back to stores as a permanent addition to our menu.”
In addition to the promotional video above, the chain will also be running a newspaper ad announcing the sandwich’s return. Agency Gut Miami created both pieces of the “Open Sunday” campaign.
This time, the chain seems confident it will be able to keep the sandwich in stock, even if it’s able to rekindle the demand it saw as the sandwich of the summer.
“We were both humbled and thrilled by how warmly the product was received,” Cardinali says, “and we’re excited to say it’ll be back for good.”
Agency: Gut Miami
Founder, CCO: Anselmo Ramos
COO, Partner: Paulo Fogaça
ECD, Partner: Ricardo Casal
ECD, Partner: Juan Javier Peña Plaza
Managing Director: Ricardo Honegger
ACD, Writer: Jeff Hodgson
ACD, Art Director: Eliana Ferrer
Sr. Copywriter: Frank Garcia
Sr. Art Director: Giulia Magaldi
Management Supervisor: Monique Beauchamp Estrella
Sr. Producer: Renata Neumann
Jr. Strategist: Wonsik Cho
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Production and Postproduction:
Production, Post & Stills: MERGE STUDIOS
Music by Human
Composed by Gordon Minette
Creative Lead Morgan Visconti
Sr. Producer Craig Caniglia
Executive Producer James Wells
Music Consultant Josh Rabinowitz/Brooklyn Music Experience
Alison Brod Marketing + Communications