Why KFC Is Calling For A Chicken Sandwich Wars Cease-Fire

Do you remember the Chicken Sandwich Wars? It was that seemingly endless series of marketing campaigns and chicken sandwich launches that the fast food industry spent about two years fuelling. Well, KFC is calling for an end to it. Just for one day anyway.

In a press release issued earlier today, KFC announced that on November 30, which is Giving Tuesday, the chain will donate $1 to Blessings in a Backpack for every chicken sandwich sold. Blessings in a Backpack is a nonprofit that ensures that children who receive federally funded meal programs throughout the week are also fed on the weekends by packing meals for them to take home. KFC will donate no less than $250,000 but will cap donations at $300,000.

The chicken sandwich wars come into it because, for some reason, KFC decided to use that as the framing device for the giving. The chicken chain challenges the rest of the industry to also donate to deserving non-profits or simply buy a sandwich from KFC. Customers can get in on the action by sharing their sandwiches on social media with #ChickenSandwichForGood. How exactly this marks an actual cease-fire is unclear, as the donations only take a portion of the profits made and, in fact, are used to make the case for buying chicken sandwiches. One could argue that it seems more like the Red Wedding from "Game of Thrones" than the Christmas Truce in World War I.

Is the chicken sandwich war still a thing?

The other odd thing about framing a donation drive as a cease-fire for the chicken sandwich wars is that the rampant releases and marketing of those sandwiches have arguably dwindled to the point of fizzling out. True, Huey Magoo's Chicken Tenders got a press release in Restaurant News Releases on November 15 stating that its chicken tenderloin sandwich was now the winner of the Chicken Sandwich Wars. But was the war even still going by then? The biggest brands that started the whole thing had already launched their products.

On November 2, Civic Science reported that the winners were, unsurprisingly, Chick-fil-A and Popeye's. According to the site's survey, Wendy's managed to beat KFC to the third-place spot, but the drop-off after fourth is so large that KFC should feel happy. While 50% of respondents who had tried KFC's chicken sandwich rated it positively, Arby's, which came in fifth, only managed to convince 39%.

Moreover, enough time has passed that we can begin to judge how well brands actually did. So, KFC has come out well. Perhaps the only reason the chicken sandwich wars really exist now is to serve as some rhetorical tool to announce that a new sandwich is launching or to promote a charitable effort. But if a company wants to use the war as an excuse to call for peace and charity, at least it's fighting for a good cause.