Popeyes targets pizza in new social media campaign

Chicken chain offering $5 discount with 'Popeyes instead of pizza' autocorrect campaign

Popeyes isn't planning on serving up any pizza pies in the near future. Instead, it's trying to lure customers away from the meal with a new social media campaign dubbed "Popeyes instead of pizza."

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The chicken chain, owned by Restaurant Brands International, is encouraging its customers to snag a family member's phone and autocorrect the word "pizza" with "Popeyes instead of pizza" to ensure Popeyes rises as the top choice over pizza when it comes to deciding what's for dinner.

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QSRRESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL INC.53.73-1.47-2.66%

If customers screenshot the autocorrected text and post it to social media with the #LoveThatAutocorrect, they will be given to a $5 discount on their next meal.

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In a video posted to YouTube last week, the company listed three steps on how switching out the word pizza would work alongside an example of what the text exchange would look like.

The effort comes as heavy hitters in the food industry are working to entice customers amid a time of heightened demand for takeout and delivery. Fast-food competitors remain reliant on the to-go service model, especially as a fresh round of coronavirus cases threatens parts of the United States.

The delivery demand has driven Pizza Hut, Dominos and Papa John's to hire additional staff.

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"More often than not, the delivery go-to everyone lands on is pizza," said Popeyes chief marketing officer Bruno Cardinali. "While we love pizza just as much as the next person, families are actually looking to add other options to their repertoire and for that we created a campaign that will hopefully incentivize people to consider Popeyes for family meals and to satisfy their taste buds- fried chicken."

(Popeyes)

However, despite the interruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Popeyes has proven to be quite resilient, with U.S. store sales that have been open for at least one year returning to pre-COVID-19 levels as of June, according to the company.

Within the first three months of the year, global systemwide sales increased over 32 percent to $1.3 billion. Additionally, U.S. store sales that have been open for at least one year grew by nearly 30 percent during that same time.

"Popeyes success last year was unlike anything, any of us have seen in our careers, but its resilience in the face of COVID-19 with dining rooms closed across the country has been equally remarkable," CEO of Popeyes parent company Restaurant Brands International Jose Cil said on the company's first-quarter earnings call.

To date, nearly all Popeyes restaurants in our home market are open for takeout and delivery – with dining rooms mostly closed.

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The autocorrect campaign wasn't the company's first attack on the pizza industry.

Earlier this month, the company tweeted the word "Pizza." The tweet was a preview of Popeyes' earlier campaign that offered free delivery to "anyone who orders a Popeyes Family Meal instead of pizza on the Popeyes App," a spokesperson said.

However, the social media post drew pause to the company's social media followers especially since the company has never severed the item since being founded in 1972.

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