Popeyes recruits out-of-work musicians to re-record jingle for pandemic era

Linda J. Dodson

Table of Contents

Dive Brief:

  • Popeyes is calling on musicians who are out of work during the coronavirus pandemic to help the company re-record its jingle, “Love That Chicken,” according to news shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The effort was initially focused on musicians from Popeyes’ hometown of New Orleans, with a recruitment push on social media and a full-page ad in local paper The Times-Picayune. Today, the brand is expanding the effort nationwide following a positive response.
  • Musicians can submit their at-home recordings via social media with the hashtag #LoveThatJingle through May 18. Those selected will be compensated by Popeyes and have their work used for communications on TV, radio and digital during the pandemic.

Dive Insight:

With its latest social media-driven campaign, Popeyes looks to support an artist community that has been hit hard by the shuttering of live performance venues and coronavirus-related policies preventing large gatherings. The effort, which will compensate out-of-work musicians with cash if their contributions are selected, ties back to New Orleans’ roots as a city with a rich music history while giving Popeyes new creative assets to use at a time when regular commercial production stalls.

#LoveThatJingle aligns with other marketing initiatives Popeyes has undertaken as the novel coronavirus continues to disrupt business as usual around the world. Last month, the fast-food chain created online merchandise to benefit a local Louisiana nonprofit, Second Harvest Food Bank, along with selling special meal boxes dedicated to the “NOLA STRONG” cause. Ads promoting the push threw a spotlight on New Orleans and featured actor Wendell Pierce, a city native.

A video behind #LoveThatJingle appears to use some of the same footage of the empty city, while the print ads display sheet music for “Love That Chicken” and a call to action for musicians. Popeyes also posted the sheet music and tips for capturing a clean recording from home on its website. The casting call is only open to non-union musicians aged 18 years or older at the time of their submission, per the website details.

By ramping up its cause-driven marketing during a difficult period, Popeyes has the opportunity to build longer-term loyalty with consumers, who are relying more on takeout and delivery amid mass restaurant closures. The brand entered the pandemic with strong momentum stemming from the launch of a widely popular fried chicken sandwich last year, and the company has continued to perform well despite new hurdles posed by the coronavirus.

Popeyes’ same-store sales, a key metric of business health for the restaurant category, soared 29.2% in the U.S. last quarter, parent company Restaurant Brands International reported in Q1 earnings results released Friday. Growth continued to be driven by the fried chicken sandwich offering, as well as bone-in, boneless and seafood orders, RBI CEO Jose Cil said on a call with investors.

“Popeyes’ success last year was unlike anything any of us have seen in our careers,” Cil told investors. “It’s resilience in the face of COVID-19 with dining rooms closed across the country is equally remarkable.”

#LoveThatJingle is the latest campaign that has looked to revamp iconic jingles, with previous efforts from Juicy Fruit and Meow Mix using a similar musical branding tactic.

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