Chicken Wars! Will KFC Steal the Social Spotlight from Raging Chicken Sandwich Wars?


NEW YORK – The Chicken Sandwich Wars have been raging on social media but this week a new player stepped in when KFC introduced its Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets and wings. While the Summer of 19 Chicken Sandwich Wars have generated millions of engagements over the past 30 days, KFC is beginning to steal that thunder with its announcement.

International social media analytics firm Talkwalker takes a look inside the numbers.

In the Chicken Sandwich Wars, there is a clear winner and it’s Popeyes’ and Popeyes’ won big. By every metric they are dominating the conversation against Chick-fil-A. Both brands announced a new product on August 12th but both went largely unnoticed until Popeyes retweeted a Chick Fil-A tweet calling its sandwich “the original.” Popeyes’ tweet reply of “y’all good” went viral and sold out their sandwiches nationwide.

Chick-fil-A: 101.7k mentions winning 1.4M engagements (likes, comments, shares) from 14.4K unique authors.

Popeyes: 1.1M mentions winning 6.8M engagements from 110k unique authors.

The conversation is being led by the “marketing sweet spot” demographic of 18-34-year-olds with a similar gender split for both brands, led by men at 59% and 57% respectively for Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.

Here are some trending tweets about the sandwich wars, including this video that was by far the most viral tweet, with 337.2K engagements.

Overall, people were having a lot of fun with the chicken wars, and in particular with the Popeyes’ popularity and scarcity, including these tweets.

Meanwhile, KFC was laying low as it was planning to launch its Beyond Fried Chicken wings and nuggets. Even though the Beyond Fried Chicken was only available for one day at one Atlanta location, will KFC take over the conversation? All signs are pointing in that direction.

Talkwalker reported that there have been more than 6,000 mentions of KFC that also reference Beyond Chicken in the last week (that’s 28,000% more than the previous week) from 5,300 unique authors and generating 127,000 engagements (317,000% more than the previous week).

Eighty percent of posters are under the age of 34 and gender-wise, the split is 55%-45% male to female, which is a slightly more equal number than Popeyes/Chick-fil-A.

Emotions noted in the tweets are overwhelmingly joy. Results from the one store offering the Beyond chicken seem to back that up:

Overall KFC timed this announcement very well and was able to keep the virality around chicken rolling – but for themselves – which may be the biggest lesson from this story

Todd Grossman, CEO Americas Talkwalker

About Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels. Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.