Atlanta-Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits is considering how it can expand its new "Cajun Chicken Festival" ad theme to other parts of the business, including restaurant openings, catering and packaging.

The chain is convinced the new theme delivers a strong, Cajun-focused message, and it plans to start shooting a second phase of TV spots later this year to reinforce Popeyes' image. "We've had a very good response from our franchise community to the Cajun festival concept," says Philip Fogleman, director of advertising for the 3,600-unit chain. "Popeyes is very fortunate in that it's a brand with a unique positioning in the quick-service and chicken segments of the market. The New Orleans profile makes it unique."

Popeyes wants to extend the theme so that it covers "marketing on every level," Fogleman says. "We have a lot of possibilities. Instead of a grand opening, you have a Cajun chicken festival grand opening. We're working on catering. You're not getting chicken; you're throwing a Popeyes chicken festival when you have a catering event."

The chain is also exploring changes in its packaging "to make it look like it's from a Cajun chicken festival," Fogleman says.

The first ads under the new theme broke recently and were shot in New Orleans. They were staged like a Mardi Gras-style festival, complete with a Miss Popeyes and a King of Chicken presiding as festival patrons, tossing biscuits down from balconies. The ads also include two "biscuit heads" who said they got married at the chicken festival, and a concert featuring a funky version of the "Love That Chicken From Popeyes" theme. "We like the Cajun funk version; we think it's cool," Fogleman says. "We wanted to shake things up a little so the advertising is more memorable in the third and fourth months of the campaign." A rap version of the song was also recorded, and franchisees in urban markets are expected to use it in their ads. -Nation's Restaurant News