Come And Get It

Is it art imitating life or vice versa?

To reposition Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits as a Cajun-chicken fast-food chain rather than solely a chicken chain, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in New York recently cooked up a Popeyes Cajun Chicken Festival in New Orleans for a four-spot campaign.

Though not exactly real, the festival was promoted by the shop as if it were, with staffers flying down before the event to hand out flyers and backstage passes. Then the agency filmed 100 paid extras, along with 400 people who just showed up, as they ate Popeyes chicken and listened to the zydeco band Rockin’ Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters (dubbed the Cajun Spices for the ad).

Chicken abounded. “We were cooking it for the shoot, but it was for the crew, and anybody who showed up could eat it,” said Rob Reilly, vp, group creative director at Hill, Holliday N.Y. “We had people who showed up for lunch and then came back for dinner.”

The ads are running in spot markets nationwide such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Atlanta-based Popeyes spent about $20 million in media last year.