Yesterday, I seriously questioned the Popeye’s CMO, GSD&M as a whole and ECD Mark Taylor’s judgement in letting such the blatantly racist and pathetically ignorant “Annie The Chicken Queen” commercial hit the airwaves. And here’s where it gets interesting, according to sources inside Greed, Sex, the creative team allegedly fought against the spot. Here’s just one source:
“As an employee there, let me be very CLEAR when I say that he [Taylor] as well as all other creative directors, and pretty much the entire creative Dept. [sic] actually fought this campaign to the bitter end. In fact, as you wrote in an article a few weeks ago, The [sic] higher ups in the agency actually went behind the creative department’s back and hired a freelancer to do this. He is rumored to be pretty ethnically insensitive (but from the looks of his latest campaign that’s obvious). Overall, Mark Taylor and most of the agency agrees with your post, that the campaign is offensive and stereotypical, but that’s not what’s being implied in the article. That’s why I hope you do a follow up article to get the TRUTH out – That Mark Taylor and the creative department had nothing to do with this ( in fact, it’s that freelancer who’s producing it because the creative dept. wont be associated with it.)
Now isn’t this interesting… we did report that CEO Roy Spence had leapt over the head of Taylor and selected a freelancer to perform ancillary work on the Popeye’s account, but in no way did we think that Spence would let this guy’s work be the pillar of the campaign; to be produced into million dollar nationwide broadcast spots. That’s well, that’s some big balls right there. We were wrong in blaming Taylor for the showing the green light to this work. Blatantly wrong and we appreciate the correction.
Now then, Mr. Spence and the CMO of Popeye’s Dick Lynch have some explaining to do. You are both on the hook. Naturally, we reached out to Popeye’s to see what they had to say about their controversial campaign. And guess what? They don’t much seem to care, which surprises us quite a bit. Their response to questions about consumer concerns over the campaign, as well as the fact that the GSD&M creative team fought against the ad spot and that an outside freelancer had to be brought into to create the work?
“Annie,” our new advertising character, expresses the heart and soul of the Popeyes brand. Her lively personality and energy underscore the pride, passion and authenticity that go into our carefully prepared, delicious, Louisiana-style chicken. We are proud of this campaign. However, we have heard conversations around the character. We are taking that feedback and are looking for ways to broaden Annie’s appeal to our consumers.
Seriously. Speechless right now.