Back in August, the release of Popeyes’ infamous chicken sandwich caused mass hysteria across the nation, however, it was their social media presence that had all eyes on the chicken chain.
It was one tweet and two words sent to the brand’s competitor that officially won the internet and started what was dubbed as the “chicken war.”
That tweet was sent by Angela Brown, Social Strategist at the Austin, TX based ad agency, GSD&M. It caught the attention of members of Black Twitter who believed in the importance of having black women in marketing.
Why you should hire black women for social :
You're looking at a group photo of GSDM.. the marketing agency that did the digital strategy for @PopeyesChicken.
The girl circled is responsible for the tweet that set the brand on fire with over 3B impressions. pic.twitter.com/jZHgRMe6Oe
— DonYe Taylor (@donyetaylor_) November 6, 2019
GSD&M, who has had the Popeyes account since 2008, also serves clients such as Southwest Airlines, Pizza Hut, Hilton Hotels, Universal Parks and Resorts and more.
Unfortunately, GSD&M’s contract with Popeyes has ended and the restaurant chain has gone in another direction. Angela took to Twitter to announce GSD&M and Popeyes split, as well as discuss some of the issues African Americans have in the advertising world.
“Sometimes you can do monumental, unprecedented, culture-shifting work and it doesn’t matter at the end of the day,” she wrote. “Sadly, as a Black person/POC in Advertising/corporate America, this is often our reality.”
She continued, “We’ve known about this news since December and it sucked because we couldn’t say anything for months. So here’s the thing: it’s safe to say that as an agency, and as a social team, our thinking, experience and cultural-understanding changed this brand. What we did put them top-of-mind, period. That came from having a Diverse/multi-cultural team who knows how to navigate culture and understands the nuances of it. That came from bringing our full selves to the table, being supported & having our GSD&M team in our corner. Again, this is the importance of having representation working in these companies, on these brands, from C-suite to entry level. Even though it’s 2020, it still seems like some people aren’t ready to make a change. But here we are. ALSO it’s important that I point out: our whole GSD&M creative & account team(s) worked tirelessly for YEARS to produce work that went above-and-beyond for Popeyes. Work that won awards, generated revenue and elevated brand awareness/respect. They deserve all the love.”
Popeyes has now officially announced GUT, an independent ad agency founded in 2018 and based in Miami, has taken over as their new creative agency.
Popeyes had been working with GUT since August to help introduce (and re-introduce) their chicken sandwich. Before officially replacing GSD&M as Popeyes creative agency, GUT has handled a number of campaigns for Popeyes over the past year. However, their most recent campaign has many wondering if Black creatives have once again gotten the short end of the stick.
In January, Beyonce released her highly anticipated Ivy Park collaboration with adidas. The athleisure collab, featuring a burgundy, ecru, and orange colorway, quickly sold out online and in stores. Just a short time later, Popeyes took advantage of the hype surrounding Beyonce’s Ivy Park release and the resemblance to their restaurant’s uniform’s by dropping their own athleisure brand.
With the help of GUT, Popeyes unveiled a fashion line and website eerily similar to that of Beyonce’s.
— Popeyes (@Popeyes) January 29, 2020
Although some would call this genius marketing, GUT agency didn’t come up with this idea on their own. In fact, it was the brain child of a Black marketing manager / content producer on Twitter — and she kept the receipts.
So, yes I learned first hand of Popeyes unscrupulous practices with Black Women marketers. Also, KUDOS to you on the work, and all the success that’s surely coming your way!
— Angela Mack (@AngelaDMack) March 5, 2020
Angela Mack, the marketing manager who alleges that her work was stolen by Popeyes new creative agency, sent words of encouragement to her fellow marketer, Angela Brown, ” I learned first hand of Popeyes unscrupulous practices with Black Women marketers. Also, KUDOS to you on the work, and all the success that’s surely coming your way!”