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Bruno Cardinali is head of marketing at Popeyes.

Popeyes' marketing executive Bruno Cardinali harnesses the power of Twitter to start the chicken sandwich wars

Meet the technology innovators on Nation's Restaurant News' 2020 Power List

When Popeyes’ chicken sandwich unexpectedly became an overnight sensation, the brand, with help from Bruno Cardinali, its head of marketing, embraced the chaos.

When chicken sandwich rival, Chick-fil-A, took a swipe on Twitter, the brand punched back with a simple "Y'all good?" thus starting the chicken sandwich wars.

Significantly, Popeyes was able to Tweet back within minutes of Chick-fil-A's dig. To harness social media's power, brands need to act fast without the traditional red tape that might slow down a big brand. Cardinali does just that.

powerlist_banner_20202.jpgAnd with just two words, Cardinali was able to create real ROI. The ensuing Twitter wars garnered the equivalent of $23 million in free advertising, according to APEX marketing group.

Even when the chicken sandwiches sold out, Cardinali and his brand turned what would otherwise be a supply-chain issue, into a chance to gain fans and strengthen bonds with customers. During the sandwich hiatus, the brand kept up the buzz with a bring your own bun promotion and by documenting seemingly every stage of the sandwich's return. (There's even video of truckloads of chicken rolling across the highway.)  

When the chicken sandwich finally did make its return in November, it was met with long lines and tons of buzz. And even the date of the return was a calculated marketing move. It was a Sunday, the one day Chick-fil-A is closed.

Contact Gloria at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @GloriaDawson

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