How a popeyes chicken ad made us $20k | dropshipping 2019

On August 12, Popeyes announced their brand new chicken sandwich. As a limited-time menu item, it was forecasted that the sandwich would only be available until September.

This sandwich was everywhere — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it — people were losing their minds.

Naturally, John couldn’t help but wonder what the hype was all about and decided to visit Popeyes himself for a tasting.

Unfortunately, despite visiting multiple Popeyes locations, he was unable to find a single one. Left frustrated and hungry, he wondered how it was possible that so much hype was built up around a product with organic traffic. And John wasn’t the only one — there were hundreds of thousands of people who were also left out and feeling equally disappointed, taking to the internet and social media to vent.

And that’s when the idea hit him — what if he could use this chicken-sandwich wave to his advantage and generate a ton of sales by sympathizing with those who were left out?

There were a couple of things that he needed to think about in order to actually plan and execute the marketing strategy.


Internet memes like this are generally short-lived; nobody can say for certain how long any trend will remain relevant. It could last a few days, or maybe several weeks. One thing was for sure: John needed to get this going, and fast!

Demographic & Relatability

In order to actually make some money here, John needed to have an understanding of the audience, and what their interests are. It seemed that most of the people engaging with these memes were mainly a younger demographic; kids in high-school and college, who don’t particularly have that much money, as John recalled from experience. The product would have to fit their interests and budget.

The Business Model

Taking all things into consideration, John concluded that a good play here would be a free + shipping offer on one of his existing stores.

By using an existing store, he would be able to get things up and running as quickly as possible so that he would have a chance at monetizing the traffic.

The free + shipping model would also allow him to offer a relatively cheap product that would fit the financial profile of his audience. Not only that, but he already came up with some copy that would go well with the free + shipping offer: “Couldn’t get a sandwich? Well here’s some free stuff, we’ve got your back!”.

The Product

Having crafted a rough idea of what the offer would look like, John now needed to find the right product. He knew it needed to be in the lower price range, while also having high perceived value. It also needed to be a product that could be easily advertised on Instagram, generating engagement and interest across a wide demographic of people.

After looking around, John decided to go with a bracelet. Having seen other businesses run these types of offers before, he knew that the bracelets are in demand (to some degree).

The Initial Ad

John kept the initial ad simple; we threw the bracelet on a blank background and cropped out a picture of the sandwich, placing it inside the bracelet. He then threw up the Popeyes logo up top and included the accompanying text.

The copy focused on the fact that Popeyes had run out of chicken sandwiches, and offered them the free bracelet.

The Campaign Setup

John decided to go with the tried and tested CBO strategy that we reveal in the free case study video.

He picked out 10 interests that were loosely related to people who may show an interest in the bracelet, while also potentially being aware of the popeyes chicken sandwich meme:

  • bracelet
  • diamond
  • rap
  • jewelry
  • watch
  • rolex
  • gold
  • silver
  • AP
  • engaged shoppers

The Initial Results

The initial results for the first campaign came in at a $5.43 CPP, which was about 10% higher than the target cost per purchase.

However, profit was not the goal here — after all, this was just the audience testing phase. And the results were promising; they showed that the concept was feasible, and a narrowing of the audience with progression towards lookalikes could result in some profit.

Refining The Audience + Lookalikes

After taking his winning interests and duplicating them into a new campaign, he was able to get a $4.39 CPP. At this point, the profit margins were at 20% and John was stoked to see the chicken meme ad performing so well.

He introduced his first lookalike audiences, which ended up doing okay — they were still profitable at around a $4.80 CPP but did not function nearly as well as he had anticipated, considering that the interest targeting was doing great.

Duplicating some of his best-selling interests also didn’t seem to work that well, resulting in a $12 CPP. However, his ATC lookalikes came in and saved the day, with a $3.89 CPP.

The Results

Sales: $19,522
Adspend: $9,341
COGS: $9,228
Profit: $953

The results aren’t that impressive at all — sorry for disappointing you guys, but that’s just the way it is sometimes. Not every single venture will be a wildly profitable 7-figure store.

At one point, John decided to turn off the campaigns at one point as he did not thoroughly vet the product, and was concerned that he could run into quality control issues with the random Aliexpress supplier that he used.

But, the lesson at the end of the day here is that you should never shy away from an idea because ultimately you don’t know if it will work until you test it out. Dropshipping is a game that requires constant adaptation and new ideas — the more you are willing to test out, the greater chance there is that you will succeed.

If we could make a Popeyes chicken sandwich meme work, we can almost guarantee that with practice and dedication, you can find a 6/7 figure winning product. Don’t give up, and keep testing out any ideas you have, even if they may appear silly at first.

If you have any questions about this article or ecommerce, feel free to drop a comment below or on our Facebook Group. Keep on dropshipping!