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FLAVOR OF THE MONTH

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Just weeks away from the 2000 presidential election, fast-food restaurant chain El Pollo Loco announced the winner of its own votefest to determine "America's favorite flavor of chicken."

The election took place at El Pollo Loco restaurants and elpollo-loco.com. Sixty-eight-thousand votes were cast for four candidates: barbecue, chile lime, lemon pepper and red-pepper garlic. The winning flavor—barbecue—will be resurrected for a limited time in all 274 stores (in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas) later this fall.

"We've always believed that our barbecue flavor has wide appeal," said Margaret Jenkins, vp of marketing at El Pollo Loco in Irvine, Calif. "Based on the results of our favorite-flavor election, it's clear consumers think so, too."

Last week, to commemorate the victory (BBQ captured 40 percent of the vote), the chicken chain launched a TV spot in the Los Angeles market. The ad, created by Dailey & Associates in Los Angeles, mimics a 1950s newsreel, including a Walter Winchell-style voiceover and fabricated newspaper headlines.

"It's a high-energy commercial," Jenkins said. "The voters have spoken."