Popeyes "#ChickenWars" Wins the U.S. Grand Effie
Popeyes chicken sandwich got a major boost from the "#ChickenWars," winner of the Grand Effie in the U.S. competition
Restaurant Brands International is Most Effective Marketer, Omnicom the Most Effective Holding Company, BBDO Worldwide the Most Effective Agency Network
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Restaurant Brands International’s Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen won the Grand Effie at the Ideas That Work: 2021 Effie U.S. Summit & Awards Celebration this evening (9/30) for its “#ChickenWars.”

The campaign, created by GSD&M, with contributing agency Alison Brod Marketing + Communications, introduced Popeyes’ chicken sandwich with a social media effort that ignited when Popeyes sent a tweet to Chick-fil-A asking, “Ya’ll okay?” The tweet started an online debate between the fast-food chains and their fans, leading to such popular demand for the new sandwich that Popeyes sold out. The unpaid tweets earned Popeyes $87 million worth of media and led to 13% same-store sales growth and an additional $1 billion in system-wide sales for the year. 

“The Effie Awards are truly unique as we are judging work based on effectiveness and the Grand Effie-winning work sets the tone and tenor for work we would like to see more of in the future,” said Amani Duncan, president of BBH USA and 2021 US Grand Effie Jury co-chair. “Popeyes’ campaign rose to the top because of how effectively it resonated in culture and community. Smart, simple, bold and brave were some of the adjectives used to describe the work. One juror said, ‘it takes an authentic commitment to make a lasting impact with a community.’ And we felt Popeyes did exactly that.” 

“The Grand Effie represents exceptional, exclusive, and effective marketing strategies and executions in the United States. During judging, we witnessed several amazing ideas that delivered great results,” added Umesh Sripad, chief digital officer, IKEA USA, and 2021 U.S. Grand Effie Jury co-chair. “The selection of the Grand Effie winner was undivided--innovation and execution creativity were unblemished, and the results speak for the skill, ingenuity, and vision of the creators.”

The Grand Effie was selected from eight Gold Effie winners, including Burger King and INGO Stockholm’s “Moldy Whopper”; Crayola,  dentsumcgarrybowen and Golin’s “Color Yourself Into the World”; Detroit City Football Club and Lafayette American’s “Bragging Rights”; Michelob ULTRA and FCB New York’s “Michelob ULTRA Courtside: Game-Changing Innovation Changes the Game”; Sandy Hook Promise and BBDO New York’s “Back to School”; The Wild Detectives and Dieste’s “Traveling in the Times of Corona”; and Tinder and 72andSunny Los Angeles’ “Swipe Night.”

The Effies awarded its first winners in the Crisis Response/Critical Pivot category this year, a category established to recognize brands that created positive change by effectively pivoting their marketing or business activities in response to significant structural and cultural shifts, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Two silver and one bronze were awarded in the competition. The silver winners were Bridge Senior Living and Luckie & Company’s “Radio Recliner,” and The Great American Takeout and High Wide & Handsome for “Rallying a nation to save the restaurant industry.” In the Crisis Response/Critical Pivot category of the Commerce & Shopper Effies, a bronze Effie was awarded to Coca-Cola and Momentum Worldwide for “Uber Eats + Coke + Feeding America Program.”

Two golds, one silver and one bronze were awarded in the Sustained Success category, which recognizes effective work that has succeeded over three or more years. The gold winners were Crown Royal and Anomaly for “Igniting a Spirit of Generosity,” and E*Trade Financial and MullenLowe U.S. for “Don’t Get Mad, Get E*TRADE.” The silver Effie went to CDW and Manifest Agency for “Build IT and They Will Come,” and a bronze Effie was awarded to Allegheny Health Network and Doner for “#LivingProof over Promises.”

“We are exceptionally proud of this year’s Effie winners,” said Traci Alford, global CEO of Effie Worldwide. “This incredible body of work should be celebrated not just for its outstanding results but also for the further proof of our industry’s creativity and resilience.”

Effie Worldwide also announced the results of the 2021 US Effie rankings, which reflect the total points from finalist and winning entries from the awards competition.

The highest-ranking companies from the 2021 Effie Awards U.S. competition are:


  • Most Effective Marketers: 1) Restaurant Brands International 2) Procter & Gamble 3) AB InBev
  • Most Effective Brands:  1) Burger King 2) Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen 3) Sandy Hook Promise 
  • Most Effective Holding Companies:  1) Omnicom 2) IPG  3) Publicis Groupe
  • Most Effective Agency Networks:  1) BBDO Worldwide 2) MullenLowe 3) McCann Worldgroup
  • Most Effective Independent Agencies:  1) Alison Brod Marketing & Communications 2) SMUGGLER  3) Dini Von Mueffling Communications
  • Most Effective Agency Offices: 1) BBDO New York 2) MullenLowe U.S. – Boston 3) GSD&M

To view the full list of winners, click here.


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