Popeyes' Branded Clothing Line As PR Stunt


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A Pop Or A Flop?

The fast food brand Popeyes had a truly remarkable year in both sales and PR in 2019 and fresh into the start of 2020, they've proven once again that they have no plans of losing their momentum. Their latest PR stunt, inspired by Beyoncé's latest Ivy Park Collection is one for the books! 

As many fans noted similarities between the color scheme of both Popeyes branding and the Spring 2020 clothing line, the fast food chicken brand came up with a brilliant idea to capitalize on the two. In this blog post, Hollywood Branded examines Popeyes' marketing efforts and new clothing line inspired by Beyoncé's Ivy Park's spring collection.

Popeyes Clothing Line Blog Image-1

Popeye, The Viral Man

Popeyes has always been a beloved fried chicken chain, but its popularity, social platform and reputation were never quite on the level of competitors like KFC or Chick-Fil-A. Except all of that changed last year when they unveiled their brand new chicken sandwich.The sandwich is served with crisp barrel cured pickles and Classic or Spicy Mayonnaise, served on a warm and toasted buttery brioche bun.

The new menu item built up hype over that went viral on the internet and flooded locations with a demand that literally could not be met. In fact, many locations were often seen posting signs in the window that they had run out of supplies to make enough sandwiches. 


Where Popeye's was more regionally popular previously, their overnight sensation gained notoriety and headline earning fame for the brand, suddenly putting them in direct competition with Chick-Fil-A. In fact this then generated an entire movement of hilarious memes dedicated to the feud of which brand produced the better chicken sandwich. (The writer should share his bias right here that he also loves this sandwich and has happily waited over 30 minutes in a drive-through before to get one... in fact he may be doing just that as he finishes writing this blog post.)

popeyes meme

Most notably interesting is the way that Popeyes managed to lean into their new popularity with a social presence that feels as fresh and new as the sandwich itself. Over night the chain seemed to learn how to completely rebrand itself with a clever and current social presence that helped keep up the momentum of their sudden spark in popularity.

The shift in their marketing efforts did not stop there either. At the end of the year, the chain announced a celebrity partnership with the hip hop group, Migos - offering new dinner combo meals named after the group and its members! Available through a deal set up with UberEats, the new Migos dinner combos spoke directly to fact that Popeyes was clearly shifting marketing directly at a black audience, investing in a partnership with hip hop artists.

Popeyes and Migos

Clearly their marketing research found this to be a key market in their sales but not only that, hip hop is perhaps the most popular genre in current American pop culture. So not only does this hone in on a specific audience in their marketing efforts, it also simultaneously speaks to a much larger audience at the same time by associating with music that speaks to a younger audience on a national level.

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Enter The Queen

The queen of pop music, Beyoncé has also had a busy year in her own business endeavors. As I wrote about previously in another blog post, it caused quite a stir early in 2019 when she announced that her athleisure brand, Ivy Park would be partnering with Adidas on a new collection. Fresh off the heels of this Summer's Lion King, in which she not only voice-acted the role of Nala but also co-wrote and compiled the soundtrack for the film.

Just last month, the queen Bey announced the release of her new lineup in her own game-changing marketing ploy. A giant box containing every item from her new Ivy Park and Adidas collection was sent to all of her celebrity friends, who posted about it on their social channels when they received the shipment. Perhaps the mot talked about gifting was to Reese Witherspoon, who went viral with her video showcasing the collection and sharing an anecdote about how she befriended Beyoncé and Jay Z at an award show where she asked if she could borrow some champagne from their table.

reese witherspoon ivy park

Other celebrities who received shipments included  Ellen DeGeneres, Cardi B, Kendall Jenner, Ciara, Missy Elliott, and Hailey Bieber. Needless to say, this marketing effort was also a smash success for Ivy Park as the collection sold out the day it was released both online and in select retail locations. (The writer must regretfully share that he was not able to purchase anything from this line due to the fact that he did not stay ready by his computer at the time of the release. He is currently accepting condolences from anyone who will give him anything from this fashion line.)

Celebrity invite to brand event ebook

A Clothing Line Is Born

As there is a large overlap between people who love Popeyes and people who love Beyoncé (again the writer of this blog feels very seen) it was quickly noticed by many people that Ivy Park had incidentally chosen a color palette for the new collection that was similar to the uniform of Popeyes employees, particularly with the predominant presence of orange and maroon in both.


Wasting no time in jumping on their social currency with the memes spurred by the comparison of their uniforms and Ivy Park, Popeyes shocked us once again with the announcement that they too would be releasing their own clothing line inspired by the similarities. 

popeyes clothing line

This genius marketing move caused Popeyes to once again go viral with the news of their new clothing line, released mostly as a joke. The timing was perfect since the news broke just days after Ivy Park collection had sold out. It was also ideal to take inspiration from Beyoncé's collection due to the fact that she has a preexisting relationship with it, as any member of the bey hive will tell you. She told Oprah Winfrey back in 2003 that she had a lifetime membership card for the restaurant chain that allows her to get as much free chicken as she wants whenever she visits a Popeyes.

Naturally anyone who loves both brands will have to own an item from this clothing line as well. In an altruistic fashion, Popeyes announced that all sales from their line will go to charity. 

Get Me Branded

Parterning your brand with the right celebrity can truly change the game for your social awareness and of course sales. Check out these other posts we've written on securing celebrity endorsements and product placement...

Interested in taking the next step in your understanding of celebrity endorsements and how effective they can be for your brand? Check out these other case studies to learn what you can do!

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