COVID-19 transformed just about every industry in the wake of lockdowns and health concerns, but the QSR sector has managed to weather the storm and come out stronger for it. In fact, the industry is projected to see $119.2 Billion (USD) in growth between 2021-2025 (source: Technavio). Despite some supply chain issues and a labor shortage that will persist in the near-term, the shift towards mobile/contactless ordering has provided the QSR sector the opportunity to reinvent itself. Examples of this change are apparent in our list of the Most Viewed Video Ads for the QSR Sector in 2021.
2021 saw many brands embracing digitalization across all service models and turning their sights to apps, kiosks and mobile drive-thru lanes and it’s expected these efforts will come into maturity at some point in 2022. The benefits of moving towards digital have already become apparent for many quick service restaurants, including Chipotle:
“Digital is the stickiest channel and we’re super happy with that. We know when we get consumers into those digital channels, the likelihood of creating a relationship that is enduring for us is better.”
— Scott Boatright, Chipotle Chief Restaurant Officer (source: Forbes)
Now let’s take a look at the Most Viewed Video Ads for the QSR Sector in 2021.
Most Viewed Video Ads: QSR Sector 2021
|Rank||Brand||Campaign||Release date||Total views|
|1||Chick-fil-A||The Whoopsery||Nov. 9, 2021||71,281,164|
|2||Burger King||$1 Your Way||Feb. 11, 2021||68,586,358|
|3||Jimmy John’s||Meet the King||Feb. 3, 2021||66,946,751|
|4||KFC||Chicken Business||March 15, 2021||35,546,116|
|5||Subway||We Don’t Have Time For Tom||July 7, 2021||32,145,183|
|6||KFC||The Kentucky Fried Chicken Sandwich||Sept. 21, 2021||28,751,769|
|7||McDonald’s||New Crispy Chicken Sandwiches||Feb. 26, 2021||23,085,894|
|8||Burger King||2 for $5 Drive Thru||Feb. 11, 2021||22,529,267|
|9||Dunkin’ Donuts||Topped, Toasted, & Tasty||May 8, 2021||21,302,544|
|10||El Pollo Loco||The Loco Lunch Box||Feb. 24, 2021||20,642,602|
*Data collected by AcuityAds’ True Reach™ insights platform from January 1 – December 31, 2021
1. Poultry in motion: Chicken sandwich wars aren’t over
Although the chicken sandwich wars began back in 2019 with a social media-powered feud between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A, chicken sandwiches were still a hot-ticket item in 2021, with more than 65% of the US population ordering a chicken sandwich at some point during the year (Source: Food Business News). There are now over 20 QSR restaurants with new or refreshed chicken sandwich offerings, and it’s likely that number will grow in 2022.
2. Game of phones: App-related CTAs trending
The pandemic solidified smartphones as the primary mode for identifying and selecting restaurants. As a result, almost half of the Most Viewed Video Ads in our list featured an app-based call to action. Subway’s cheeky video ad featuring NFL superstar Tom Brady is a great example of this trend.
3. Lunch—the most important meal of the day?
Spanish QSR El Pollo Loco was the only ad on our list to specifically target a lunchtime crowd featuring their Loco Lunch Box. Was it an attempt to target return-to-office consumers? Or could campaign takeover and trendy intermittent fasting diets push breakfast out of the coveted ‘most important meal of the day’ spot? Only time will tell.
Due to the rise of digital sales and signs of improved customer loyalty through digital channels, QSR players who find new ways to navigate the digital landscape will come out on top. Investments in digital-only locations, app development, loyalty programs and marketing are just some ways that brands can strive to create a frictionless digital experience and win the hearts (and orders) of hungry consumers.
Find out how you can make your digital mark with illumin™, your one stop shop for targeting, engaging and converting online QSR consumers like never before.
About True Reach™ insights platform
Increase total views and time spent on your video campaigns without increasing advertising spend. Our proprietary True Reach™ technology harnesses all publicly available view data on social platforms to track real-time performance and enable decision-making that optimizes your Share of Attention™.
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