At this point, we all fully expect Wendy’s to be trolling on Twitter; that’s essentially their whole branding now. But last night basically every fast food chain got in on the action, and I have never seen so much shade and so much sass.
What originally started the Twitter brawl was an innocent announcement by Popeye’s of their new crispy chicken sandwich. And of course Chick-fil-a chimed in, indirectly, to say that they are the originals. Then one quote tweet started the whole Twitter war — Popeyes to Chick-fil-a: “y’all good?”
After this, all hell broke loose as everyone from Popeye’s to Zaxby’s to Shake Shack chimed in talking about their chicken sandwiches. And, of course, everyone’s favorite troll, Wendy’s, got in on the action. They came with sly remarks, screenshots of deleted, incorrectly-formatted tweets, and engaged in the mentions with companies and individuals alike.
And then the restaurant marquis got drafted into the fray. A Houston Popeyes displayed the message “FYI People need to eat on Sundays”, to which a Covington Chick-fil-A clapped back, “FYI We don’t run out of chicken sandwiches”, calling out Popeyes for running out of chicken sandwiches and having to turn customers away. Is this a failure of supply chain, or a deviously clever marketing ploy to generate FOMO? Time will tell.
The whole thing was just hilarious and so unnecessary, but not completely unprecedented. I think that companies are figuring out that what Wendy’s does is working. The Twittersphere is a prime battleground for marketing to Millennials, and no one wants to miss out on the action, even if they have to resort to ribbing each other.
No one is going to argue that Wendy’s burgers or nuggets or fries are better than every single other fast food, but they are probably going to feel more of a connection to the brand than others. We just want to feel like brands “get” us, and what better way to be got than by trolling on Twitter and giving us hours of free entertainment? Like everyone always says when things pop off on Twitter: “how is Twitter still free??”
Update 10/29/19: Popeyes announced that they will be bringing back the chicken sandwich as a permanent menu item starting on Sunday, November 3. We’ll just pretend they didn’t intentionally plan that on a Sunday, when Chick-fil-a is closed.
Locations are adding extra staff to ensure they don’t get quite as overwhelmed this time.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Social Media + Events Coordinator at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.