Alpha Foods Ribs Popeyes About Those Underperforming Roosters

Alpha Foods is out to make the poultry skirmishes a little more interesting, aiming at the "chickenflation" caused by America's underperforming roosters. 

It didn't just slash the prices of its plant-based Chik'n Nuggets by 29.5% -- mirroring the 29.5% increase in overall chicken prices -- it promised to save the Flock Market by handing out coupons in front of Popeyes and other New York restaurants. It even took over Times Square with a stock-market-themed billboard. An ad in the Wall Street Journal went right for the masculine ego, headlined "Underperforming males crash the market once again."

"We wanted to be cheeky," says Kierstin De West, Alpha's chief marketing officer of the Glendale, California-based company. "The category needs a fun, less serious and zero-judgment approach."

She tells QSR Land the idea stemmed from news reports that major chicken producers had to raise prices, as underperforming roosters impacted worldwide chicken supply. The shortage is causing the price of wings to go up as much as $1.50 per pound, moving restaurant prices.

"Every brand has a marketing calendar they try and stick to, and so do we," she says. "But when something like this comes along, we think it's a good opportunity to get out there and be a little provocative. We want to seize cultural moments and make a little noise."

Alpha's agency, Mischief @ No Fixed Address, cooked up the campaign. 

Other companies have used similar tactics recently. Good Catch, for instance, a plant-based fish producer, has trolled Subway fans following negative publicity about its tuna sandwiches.

Reaching out to people near restaurants when feeling a little more hungry and adventurous is important.

While the brand has plenty of vegan and vegetarian fans, "we're also talking to a broader mainstream audience, who may like a meat burger one day and plant-based chicken the next," she says. "People are engaging with us because they want to eat healthier and try and live their environmental values. It's a lot easier to buy a bundle of our Chik'n Nuggets than a Tesla."

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