Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Innovation for those with too much time: One of the strangest things I have ever seen

Burger King created an Internet campaign so you can "Get chicken the way you want it."

This is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.

I can't imagine that it sells much chicken.


Patricia Harrison said...

The real story about this website is not whether it is effective at selling chicken, but its viral quality. The website, sponsored by Burger King, has been visited by many people who probably would never have seen, let alone paid attention, to a regular ad. It relies entirely on viral distribution and cost very little to produce. But, for example, by including it in Swamp Fox, you've just forwarded this "virus" to thousands more people who may not have known about the site, or about Burger King's chicken products...

See the whole story at Snopes.com's Urban Legends page: http://www.snopes.com/business/viral/chicken.asp

An excerpt from that page: "The subservientchicken.com Web site [was] launched the evening of April 7 [2004]... and only 20 people were told about it — all friends of people who worked at the ad agency. Some TV ads have flashed the Web address. Burger King says the site has received 15 million to 20 million hits. According to the agency, Web surfers have spent an average of six minutes exploring the fowl game."

Six minutes is a long time to focus on something sponsored by Burger King. This ad is a powerful example of how advertising is changing to reach people otherwise jaded by the more traditional methods of advertising.

Swamp Fox said...


I agree with you that this is viral and a powerful example of how advertising is changing to reach people. But if the image it leaves of Burger King is, "Gee that was pretty stupid," it has hurt Burger King over all.

Not only are customers not likely to buy chicken from Burger King, they're less likely to go to Burger King at all. At that moment in time when they're thinking through their alternatives at lunch, Burger King comes to mind and their last image was negative. That's not helping Burger King's cause.

Contrast this with the Mentos and Diet Coke guys. Now that was pretty cool, and it is definitely viral. Millions of people have now seen their video on the Internet. If Burger King became their sponsor, they would get very positive karma out of it. Then when customers are making a choice, they'd associate Burger King and cool, and be much more likely to wheel on in for a Whopper.