Your Fall 2019 Trends Update: Recent Food Marketing Creative

Fall is here, and with it comes pumpkin spice to make just about everything nice. The third quarter of 2019 saw creative food marketing and advertising capitalizing on the omnipresent annual trend in both humorous and attention-getting ways. In addition, the plant-based movement in fast food continued its momentum, even in the throes of a raging chicken sandwich war. And off-beat promotions gained great free publicity for a couple of well-known CPG brands.

Here are seven creative food advertising campaigns that stood out to us in the past three months.

Popeyes Starts a Chicken Sandwich War on Social

In the biggest food Twitter war we’ve seen since Wendy’s got into it with McDonald’s over frozen beef, Popeyes took on Chick-fil-A while announcing the debut of its first-ever chicken sandwich. Popeyes began with an introductory message describing the new product reading, “Chicken. Brioche. Pickles. New. Sandwich. Popeyes. Nationwide. So. Good. Forgot. How. Speak. In. Complete. Sandwiches. I mean, sentences”. Chick-fil-A responded with, “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the ♥ for the original.” Popeyes then quote-tweeted it, adding, “… y’all good?” Wendy’s, Zaxby’s and Shake Shack entered the fray, too.

The battle between the sandwiches became a major social media and the news item, and the enormous added attention led to long lines around the block at Popeyes locations. Overwhelming demand for the new sandwich created a total sellout of product in just two weeks.  Popeyes claims the sell-out was unanticipated, but could it have been part of a brilliant, even larger publicity strategy? Hmm…

KFC Introduces Plant-Based Nuggets and Wings

KFC has joined the meatless movement in fast food (see “Arby’s Megetables”) with the first imitation chicken product from Beyond Meat. The product is now being tested in nuggets and boneless wings in Atlanta, with potential for a broader future rollout. Dubbed “Beyond Fried Chicken,” KFC claims “it’s a Kentucky Fried Miracle” and “it’s confusing, but it’s also delicious.” We’ve heard people say that a lot of other meats “taste like chicken,” but this is the first time we’ve heard it about chicken-less chicken.

Burger King Plays a Whopper Guessing Game

Continuing with the plant-based trend, Burger King’s meatless Impossible Whopper has been available nationwide for more than a month. Now, they’re putting it to the test with a special “50/50″ menu in limited markets. It’s a form of Whopper roulette that has willing diners trying to discern whether the Whopper they are served at random is made with meat or a plant-based patty. Guests can use an app to submit their guess, then scan the packaging with their phone to see if they’re correct. Stay tuned for results to come later in the year.

Spam Gets On the Pumpkin Spice Product Train

Pumpkin spice spices up all kinds of foods this time of year. So why not canned meat? Back in fall of 2017, iconic brand Spam posted a mock-up of Pumpkin Spice Spam as a joke on Facebook. It garnered such a positive reaction they’ve now decided to make all our pumpkin spice wishes come true. Pumpkin Spice Spam is seasoned with “a delicious blend of seasonal spices including cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg.” The product has received heaps of free publicity, including a segment hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who pronounced it, “not as bad as expected.” A ringing endorsement, indeed.

Krispy Kreme Offers Pumpkin Spice Purchase Protection

With so many pumpkin spice products this time of year, some are bound to be disappointing. So Krispy Kreme is mocking the trend with their limited time Pumpkin Spice Purchase Protection plan. Simply bring in any pumpkin spice product—from lattes to candles to, well, Spam—and you can exchange it for a Pumpkin Spice Cake Doughnut. Because bad pumpkin spice products shouldn’t happen to good people.

Cheez-It & House Wine Partner for a Creative Co-Promotion

Cheez-It and House Wine have developed a fun co-promotion that puts a new spin on wine and cheese called “Cheez-It & Cheerz-It.” The somewhat kitschy new product features boxed wine and Cheez-It baked crackers, together in one convenient package. They’ve even created wine and cheese pairings like White Cheddar Cheez-It & Rosé and Cheddar Jack Cheez-It & Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s an attempt to remind folks that Cheez-It makes its crackers with real cheese, and to get people thinking about drinking an everyday wine with everyday snacks. Plus, Cheez-It crackers are a great way to cleanse the palette before tasting more cheap wine.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s New Invention Makes Anything a Bagel

And finally, Philadelphia Cream Cheese has come up with a solution for unimaginative people who only schmear their cream cheese on bagels. Simply make everything a bagel. “Bagel That,” is a machine that makes just about anything look like a bagel by carving a bagel-sized hole in it. Kind of like a hole punch for food. So now, toast can be a bagel. Waffles can be a bagel. Even pizza can be a… well, you get the idea. One hundred machines were briefly available for purchase on Amazon, but the “hole” lot quickly sold out.

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Kirk Evans VP/Associate Creative Director EvansHardy+Young
Kirk Evans, VP/Assoc Creative Director

Kirk held senior creative positions at McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy in Los Angeles before joining EvansHardy+Young over 20 years ago. He has produced award winning work for multiple EHY Clients including Idaho Potatoes, California Walnuts and several restaurant chains. Previous clients included American Express, Coca-Cola, Columbia Pictures and Post Cereals. Despite being born and bred in New Jersey, Kirk is an enthusiastic surfer.