#BlackGirlMagic: Angela Brown Of GSD&M Turned Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich Into A Billion-Dollar Viral Phenomenon With One Tweet And The Help Of Black Twitter

The brain behind the genius tweet that sent millions to Popeyes for the now-famous chicken sandwich belongs to a Black woman named Angela Brown.

This past Monday, social strategist Angela Brown of GSD&M and God-is Rivera, the global director of culture and community at Twitter, took the stage during their “Y’all… The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Case” panel and discussed how the chicken sandwich craze all began.

As we all know, it was the help of #BlackTwitter that set the company up for what may be the biggest win in the restaurant’s history, which God-is Rivera confirmed. The adwoman said it was Black Twitter that created the sandwich’s early buzz, giving GSD&M all the tools it needed to make the perfect marketing campaign.

”It’s not just the platform, but who is on the platform,” Rivera said. “That group had outsized impact that literally launched and propelled the conversation to 2 million tweets and 3.3 billion impressions. And I think that group is undeniably Black Twitter.”

Brown said that even before the sandwich was popular, it was tested in a few cities, which created the conversation amongst the Black community online. “The hype was real,” Brown said. “We didn’t create this conversation; it was organically happening. What was happening was it was all the social media buzz, it was the mentions, it was the conversation, and they were really building this, all the topics and the narrative around this for us.”

But when Chik Fil A decided to join the conversation with the tweet “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the for the original,” which appeared to be a subtweet at Popeyes’ new product, it only backfired. “There’s buzz around our quality product; it’s delicious,” Brown said. “And then you add the known conservative and anti-LGBTQ ideals of our competitor. This is the formula that equals one insecurity-ridden tweet.” That’s when Brown decided to capitalize on the rival restaurant’s tweet by retweeting it with the caption “…y’all good?” That tweet sent Twitter into a storm: It now has over It has over 323,400 likes and 86,000 retweets.

Fernando Machado, the global CMO for Burger King and Popeye’s, said the tone in the tweet was key. “[We] jumped on it with the right persona of the brand, which comes from Louisiana, from New Orleans,” he said. “It’s optimistic, joyful; it’s not punch in the face; the brand hit with the right tone, and I think that’s why it is so perfect. You can hear the accent in the tweet.”

Afterward, Black Twitter took the tweet and ran, creating memes, gifs, and other posts that totaled out to over 3.3 billion. God-is Rivera said Black Twitter had perfected the “collective clapback.” “If you don’t know Black Twitter, you can’t find Black Twitter,” Rivera said. “It’s this group that really is a cultural phenomenon, a group of people that identifies through the lens of black culture. They’re able to discuss politics, pop culture, so many other topics daily through that lens of a very shared experience. “And that experience so many times sets global trends around the world. And we’re seeing that today.”

Angela Brown for Popeyes

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