Last weekend, Wingstop, the fried chicken restaurant chain, opened its New York City branches at 7am in a bid to meet the unmet cravings of early-rising English Premier League fans, up to watch their team play Saturday lunchtime, UK time. The game in question last weekend was Manchester City vs. Chelsea, which Manchester City won and I, as a lifelong Chelsea fan, disappointingly watched. Chicken wings were missed.
Created by Leo Burnett Chicago, the campaign is the result of an observation that week in, week out, win or lose, English Premier League fans in the US will wake up at ridiculous times to support their teams. US fans have also been well documented in advertising, recently so in this spot for Barclay (the sponsor of the Premier League) from winter of last year.
“Wingstop customers are a unique breed,” Mikal Pittman, EVP executive creative director at Leo Burnett tells me. “They truly live the carpe diem lifestyle, looking to make life extra in any moment. They bring energy to every occasion. EPL fans in America are cut from the same cloth. Every weekend they wake up in the early hours - rain, snow or shine - to cheer on their team from afar. It’s this dedication to going extra even at 4am that made Wingstop recognise US EPL fans are our people. We wanted to celebrate and reward these sleepy-eyed, fuzzy-brained fans with some early morning flavour to reward their dedication.”
The concept of early morning chicken wings was cheekily advertised to punters as Wingstop’s version of an English breakfast, that iconic, fat laden (and delicious) plate of bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans, hash browns, toast and more. “We executed a hyperlocal approach by conducting media outreach to NYC outlets, alongside a geo-targeted social and display campaign to reach residents in the participating borough areas,” Mikal says. “Where applicable, we included a ‘soccer’ interest layer to penetrate the EPL fandom. We partnered with select NYC influencers to share the news and a special discount offer as well.”
The result spread further afield, with Premier League fans from beyond the New York City area asking for early morning wings. “It became a broader awareness play, as we tested the waters in NYC, with a clear response from soccer fans around the country demanding ‘English breakfast’ as well.
“We know soccer is a huge passion point for the Wingstop fanbase and we will continue to work to find ways to add value to that sporting culture.”