El Pollo Loco and Del Taco new pushes centered on chicken

Latin-flavored chicken joints are taking on the traditional fried chicken fast fooderies with two new campaigns. El Pollo Loco is challenging fried chicken chain KFC to a public taste test with their grilled chicken products, while taco chain Del Taco is lowering prices on its chicken dishes.

The new El Pollo Loco campaign, which begins on Sunday, calls on consumers to do their own taste test and to vote on which fast food chicken they prefer. Ads for the “Taste the Fire Challenge” are running on TV, in direct mail coupons, on the El Pollo Loco Web site and on El Pollo Loco’s Twitter page.

“We are trying to build excitement around the chicken wars,” said Mark Hardison, VP of marketing at El Pollo Loco Inc. “The idea is to bring light to the fact that at El Pollo Loco, we cook our chick on an open flame.”

The campaign even invites the competitor to call up a designated hot line to address the showdown at 1-877-EPL-STEVE.

El Pollo Loco also is inviting consumers to participate in the challenge for free on Tuesday, April 28. At designated locations, people who ask to “Taste the Fire” before 8 p.m. will be given two free pieces of El Pollo Loco’s chicken.

The El Pollo Loco campaign is targeting all Americans age 25 to 49, with a tighter focus on Hispanics age 18 to 49. This follows a price reduction campaign in which the fast food chain lowered prices on popular items to reach consumers in the tough economy.

Del Taco’s campaign also is centered on offering low prices. Their new “Bird is the word” campaign is centered around lowering prices on its grilled chicken menu. The campaign is being promoted on the Del Taco Web site, through TV ads and online video.

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