Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen opened its first restaurant in South Africa on 13 July 2017.

Atmosphere was tasked with driving awareness and interest in the local market around the launch of a new global brand. Key was to motivate trial and affinity among media influencers and encourage sharing with their audiences. This was achieved by conceptualising and executing PR tactics that would encourage engagement with the brand in the lead up to and including launch day.

The Challenge

Although the Popeyes brand was well-known and loved the world-over, both by international fans and locals who had travelled and tasted the food in the countries with Popeyes restaurants, majority of the South African market was unfamiliar with the menu. To compound the challenge, the never-heard-of food company was launching in a country with well-established fried chicken brands as its competitors and it needed to stand out.

The Idea

The success of the launch hinged significantly on trial of the menu – we believed that once the fans had a sample of the distinctive, spicy and hand-battered fried chicken, awareness through word from those brand advocates would spread far and wide.

The Solution

We targeted key media influencers who we invited to an exclusive tasting at the Sandton store a week before the official opening. This was an opportunity for them to sample the menu for themselves, interact with key brand elements and share with their following using #PopeyesTime. Broader JHB based media were invited to the official opening and given access to VIP chicken check-in queue to get their ‘first day taste’. For the business case, we drafted content that focused on Popeyes as a global brand entering the market and the opportunities this provided to local industry. Targeted interviews were pitched to print and broadcast media along similar lines.

The Results

Over 26 million media impressions generated to date from PR activities. Business day front page coverage and Business Day’s companies and markets front page Secured broadcast interviews in prominent media: 702 the money show, ENCA, Kaya FM, Power FM Jaye Sinclair interviewed by senior journalist in leading business media: Business Day, fin24, Financial Mail, M&G, Bloomberg Secured attendance at both pre-launch and launch by prominent non-contracted influencers Positive first-taste feedback from media in attendance 98% of online/ print coverage contained a branded image - driving brand recognition Over 90% of coverage generated on traditional platforms highlighted two or more key messages and imagery. 86% of social media coverage generated from PR activities contained the #tag

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