How can we get fried chicken fans back on the bone?
Fried chicken was served on-the-bone for generations. But we now have a "nugget" generation who grew up with boneless, unable to overcome bone-in’s inconvenience and “ick” factor. We need to get this generation to care about bone-in fried chicken.
Popeyes Bone-in Problem
Popeyes faces the same problems as every other bone-in chicken brand- it is greasy, it requires the eater's full attention, and it occupies both hands.
But Popeyes faces their own problem with bone-in chicken- they only serve it in big hearty meals.
We studied this "nugget" generation's eating habits.
They are choosing snacks to satisfy their indulgent cravings.
- According to a Mintel article on eating habits, 45% of them do not have a regular meal schedule, and 69% of their snacks were self-reported as indulgent purchases.
Quick Service Restaurants, are very popular with millennials.
- According to a Business Insider article, 96% of millennials have eaten at a Quick Service Restaurant within the last three months, more than any other generation.
Boneless is more snackable than bone-in fried chicken.
- It's a natural fit for this generation. It is more portable, leaves your fingers and hands less greasy, and can be more easily dunked into a wide array of sauces.
Then we watched them eat fried chicken.
They love fried chicken. The spices. The juiciness. The act of tearing it apart. They love all of it. But there's one thing they love most: the skin.
Not all types of fried chicken are created equal. The skin is truly only available on bone-in chicken. Boneless means skinless.
It's all about the skin.
A craving for greasy food is our body's demand for fat, and the skin is the fattiest part of fried chicken. Therefore, a craving for fried chicken is a craving for the skin. And this is great news for Popeyes. Their fried chicken skin is one of the most loved in the QSR fried chicken game.
Eating fried chicken is an indulgence for this nugget generation. Kelly, from our focus group, said she'll bring fried chicken home, put on stretchy pants, and slump down on the couch to eat it. When eating fried chicken, their attention and worries are distilled down to just the fried chicken and whoever they're eating it with.
They get a more intense craving for fried chicken than most other foods. James, from our focus group, said, "I slammed on the brakes and changed my plans for the day" after he passed a fried chicken restaurant. When they see fried chicken, they have to have it.
Fried chicken is two handed indulgence.
Every friend group of this generation has one. The instigator spearheads the group's food outing. Instigators are very vocal about their opinions and will use any ploy possible to persuade the group. They love fried chicken, and are able to get the group to rationalize indulging themselves.
Popeyes skin is the best way to satisfy a chicken lover's craving.
Creative thought starters
"Make a Fried Chicken Frenzy"
Show the importance of the skin, by keeping the chicken covered.
Concept: It's not what's on the inside of your chicken, it's what's on the outside.
Objective: Generate earned media for Popeyes.
How: Create a Popeyes owned microsite with a button that will generate an image of a piece of fried chicken with an article of clothing on it. Every click will give your fried chicken a different outfit. You might get a fried chicken breast with a Hawaiian shirt, or you might get a fried chicken thigh with denim shorts, or any number of combinations. The microsite will also allow users to share their chicken picture to their own social media platforms, encouraging them to use #coveryourchicken with their posts. Users can then search through the #coveryourchicken on their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
I enjoyed working on this project with fellow strategist, Katherine Gannon.