the chicken wars still rage…

The chicken wars. If you thought they were over, think again. Refresher – Popeyes introduced a new chicken sandwich, it sold out nationwide in just two weeks, and left people craving its fried goodness. Realizing it clearly had grabbed a share of the attention economy, Popeyes didn’t just simply let things be. Instead, it is now urging people to “bring your own bun” and make a chicken sandwich out of three chicken tenders, if you can’t wait for it to reload its sandwich supply.

Why it’s hot:

When you have momentum, ride the wave. Popeyes itself even acknowledges this isn’t ideal, but at least it gives people an idea and a reason to still come into Popeyes, even if the item they wanted isn’t currently available.


Twitter, the new vault for KFC’s secret recipe

KFC pulled a successful social media stunt by following 11 people on its Twitter account that hinted at the company’s secret recipe of 11 spices and herbs. Accounts that KFC follows are all of the Spice Girls and 6 people named Herb.

Why it’s hot: Great publicity at minimal cost.

Why it’s not hot: KFC doesn’t seem to have immediate next steps to amplify the effect.

JetBlue Told New Yorkers to Steal Its Bus-Shelter Ads, and Rewarded Them for It

Steal this ad. No really, it’s fine. No one will yell, “Stop, thief!” And even if they do, you’re in the clear.

More than 100 New Yorkers recently took jetBlue up on its offer of free flights and other swag by ripping off 181 bus shelter ads across the five boroughs. They were right there in plain sight—all you had to do was deface public property to get them (though no glass-shattering was required).

Steal this ad. No really, it’s fine. No one will yell, “Stop, thief!” And even if they do, you’re in the clear.

More than 100 New Yorkers recently took jetBlue up on its offer of free flights and other swag by ripping off 181 bus shelter ads across the five boroughs. They were right there in plain sight—all you had to do was deface public property to get them (though no glass-shattering was required).

It’s tough to be discreet with a poster-sized coupon tucked under your arm, but the locals didn’t seem to care. And for their boldness, they received round-trip flight vouchers, tickets to New York Jets and Brooklyn Nets games, and free scoops from Blue Marble Ice Cream.

The brand plans to repeat the two-day stunt next week under the hashtag #NYCTakeoff. Some nattily dressed flight attendants might even pop up to congratulate winners before sending them off with a chipper “Buh-bye now!”

Source: AdWeek

Why It’s Hot

This is an example of a creative approach to media, that fits in with the branding of jetBlue. Though I have to imagine reach isn’t the goal with something like this, making it viral on social with video content is a win.

Full disclosure, in high school we stole the Sex and the City posters on the subway and hung them in our rooms. So, this is just about 15 years too late.

Invisible Concert Anyone?

Billboard Magazine organized a stunt to bring music lovers back in time. The trick… they teamed up with a hypnotist!

As a way for the magazine to pay tribute to their fans, they scoured social media in order to select music lovers to participate in their stunt.

Once the fans accepted the invitation, they were met by a hypnotist that was able to get them in a state of mind to relive their favorite concerts. The result… hilarious and a genius display of share-worthy content for Billboard Magazine!

Why It’s Hot

Brands are turning to stunts and promoting them in the digital space to entertain their audiences and make their content more shareable.

A-B InBev Tricks Brooklynites Into Drinking Budweiser

As A-B continues its continued campaign targeting craft beer fans, Budweiser headed to Brooklyn during Restaurant Week and orchestrated a little stunt to get people to actually drink Bud—and even rave about it.

Hip, young Millennials were invited to sneak peek a new bar, weeks prior to its opening. When there, they were asked to sample a smooth, crisp, golden lager. The bartender played into the craft beer trend and highlighted how the lager had been aged over beechwood and the brewer’s recipe hadn’t changed for 139 years.

Why Its Hot

A-B InBev’s pro-macro beer Super Bowl spot was meant to ruffle a few feathers and get people talking. Budweiser has seen declines in sales in recent years as consumer tastes for more premium beers gains popularity. Craft beer production was up 42% last year, and for the first time ever, craft brews accounted for more than 10% of all beer sales in the US.


Craft brewing is still a niche, but a fast growing one that is beginning to take market share from Budweiser, transforming Bud into a beer without a “purpose” and in desperate need for a new positioning to entice young beer drinkers.

People Ignore a Giant Lump Growing on a Street (Cancer PSA Stunt)

It’s a PSA for Cancer Research U.K., which wanted to communicate that British people are missing the first signs of cancer. Well, no wonder they ignore small lumps in their bodies when they just walk right past weird giant lumps growing in the real world.

Why It’s Hot:
This stunt taps into the notion that many of us go about our days, missing what’s right in ‘front’ of us and uses consumer behavior to underscore an important message.

Hyundai’s “Empty Car Convoy”

Hyundai’s “Empty Car Convoy” video release is finally beginning to gain traction on the Internet, after more than a month since it was first posted to the company’s YouTube channel.  Aided by PR efforts through blogs like PSFK, the company has helped push “Empty Car Convoy” to viral status, with over 8 million views to-date.

“Empy Car Convoy” depicts stunt driver Buddy Joe driving blindfolded to showcase a set of new safety features in its 2015 Genesis vehicle. The video does a great job of integrating the features within the window, while not taking away from the stunt’s action.

Why It’s Hot

2014 seems to have been the year of the viral marketing stunt video for automakers. Though it was first released in June, Hyundai’s “Empty Car Convoy” joins the ranks of other makers like BMW and Volvo in a broader trend of leveraging online video to shock and entertain audiences around clear brand objectives.

Viral videos are certainly good for reinforcing brand goals and showcasing products in a new light, but does the “slowness of infection” around “Empty Car Convoy” suggest that the category of stunt videos is becoming seen as “ordinary” among many consumers?  Or, does it just mean that to marketers may need to think supplementary promotional strategies involving PR and outreach to help their videos gain the views needed to go viral?

Drones Deliver Coke to Workers Building Singapore Skyscrapers

A few weeks back, drones buzzed up to high-rises under construction in Singapore and dropped off cans of Coke to the migrant workers building the towers. Tucked into the care packages were 2,734 messages from Singaporeans thanking the tradesmen for their hard work.  The idea was to link two communities that don’t often come into contact – Singaporean nationals and the migrant workers who travel far from their countries to build the city-state’s apartment buildings, offices and schools.  Ogilvy & Mather Singapore and a non-profit, the Singapore Kindness Movement, worked with Coca-Cola on the project, dubbed “Happiness From the Skies.”

Coke drone

Coca-Cola photo

It’s part of Coke’s international campaign called “Where Will Happiness Strike Next?”, bringing the brand theme of happiness to places that could use some cheer. (Another Singaporean example from the campaign was a vending machine set up for stressed-out college students during exams — it dispensed Cokes if you hugged it.)

Ogilvy homed in on the idea of using drones to reach migrant workers at building sites. Coming from places including India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, guest workers make up about a third of the workforce in Singapore, known for its rapid development and high standard of living. The influx of foreign low-wage workers has brought societal tensions and divisions.

Some of Coke’s most memorable viral videos in recent years have come from Asia: The brand sent overseas Filipino migrant workers home to their families for Christmas (a real tear-jerker), and it used a cross-border game involving vending machines to connect people in India and Pakistan

Why it is hot:

Coke is increasingly looking at what cultural role our brands can play, rather than what communication message Coke can deliver.  Initiatives like this increase the social relevance of Coca Cola in service of bringing happiness to the world.