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By Audrey Kemp | LA reporter

October 24, 2022 | 4 min read

The Samuel L Jackson-backed startup has made its national advertising debut – and it’s morbidly hilarious.

Just five years ago, Dave’s Hot Chicken was a pop-up in an East Hollywood parking lot. Today, now backed by Drake, Samuel L Jackson and Maria Shriver, the fast-growing hot chicken chain has launched its first-ever creative campaign: ‘Don’t die before you try it.’

Comprising two spots, the creative stands as a cautionary tale for hot chicken lovers everywhere: try Dave’s before you die. It was created by Party Land, the agency behind Liquid Death’s absurdist ads. “From the get-go, Dave’s has had a voracious following – lines of people, wrapped around the block, waiting hours to get their food,” says Matt Heath, founder and chief creative officer at Party Land. “We took inspiration from that insatiable can’t-live-without-it fan behavior and turned it into a call to action for those who haven’t yet had the chance to fall in love with the food and the brand.”

‘Sunroof’ mourns the passing of Sam – an ardent hot chicken fan who met his untimely demise from driving with his head out of his car’s sunroof. “Please don’t mess up and die before you eat Dave’s,” Sam’s grieving friend urges the viewer.

‘Time Machine’ introduces viewers to Ryan – a man who loved hot chicken and time travel equally. According to Ryan’s distraught sister, he earned his Darwin Award when his own time machine electrocuted him. “My brother loved hot chicken, and he would have loved Dave’s, if it weren’t for his other love,” she says in the ad between tears.

"Dave's is all about having fun and taking risks, both of which I think we accomplished with this campaign," says Arman Oganesyan, founder and chief brand officer at Dave's. "[This] was the perfect way to show the world our sense of humor, the food, and our personality, while creating a fun sense of urgency to try the brand."

Today, the entire chain will give out free hot chicken for Drake’s 36th birthday from 9am until 11pm.

Credits:

Brand: Dave’s Hot Chicken

Chief executive officer: Bill Phelps

Founder and chief brand officer: Arman Oganesyan

President and chief operating officer: Jim Bitticks

Vice-president of marketing: David Crocker

Brand manager: Srishti Handa

Agency: Party Land

Founder and chief creative officer: Matt Heath

Creative director: Matt Rogers

Copywriter: Cailey Jacoby

Managing director: Andy Silva

Group account director: Amy Krieg

Account supervisor: Taylor Toomey

Executive producer: Kristin Childers

Production company: World War Seven

Director: Mama

Partner and executive producer: Josh Ferrazzano

Executive producer: Megan Pfaffenroth

Creative executive: Lauren Cannon

Director of creative development: Michael Faella

Producer: Kelly Crooks

Editorial: Cabin Edit

Senior editor: Randy Baublis

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