Spicy Chicken Launch




National PR launch of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, the chain’s first new product in 20 years.


Our team conducted primary research with CFA leaders to determine historical PR strategies that had played well for the brand. Product sampling and relationship building became the pillars of our campaign. Our strategy was to build buzz gradually, first by creating awareness of an online registration system for free sandwiches tested in Jacksonville, Fla. The test proved successful and paved the way for a national roll-out of the reservation system across the country. The next phase involved outreach to media with existing CFA relationships, inviting them to taste the sandwich and visit headquarters to learn about how it was developed. The third phase was a full PR blitz in CFA’s top 30 sales markets. For the blitz, we developed comprehensive media lists, which also included bloggers in each market, and developed a detailed press kit and tailored pitch materials. During the blitz, our team personally visited more than a thousand journalists to allow them to sample the sandwich, show it on air and engage customer interest. Our goal in each market was at least two broadcast and print hits and five Internet mentions, which would help drive online reservations for the free sandwich giveaway and sales once the sandwich was available in-store.


More than 1.2 million sandwiches were given away during the online promotion, achieving CFA’s goals for consumer sampling. We far surpassed our media goal with more than 404 print, broadcast and online placements in 95 cities nationwide, representing total impressions of 52,764,893—a PR value of $1.54 million. The Spicy Chicken launch is being touted as the most successful launch in CFA’s history, with 2 million sandwiches sold in the 10 days following the launch.