Subservient Chicken squawks again: Burger King revamps viral pioneer

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Burger King is resurrecting its 10 year old viral marketing phenomenon ‘Subservient Chicken’- a 24 hour webcam that sees a man in a chicken suit perform any request submitted online. The video has attracted nearly 7 million views on YouTube just 7 days since going online.

Watch the promo video here:


Launched back in 2004, the campaign was set up to promote the fast food chain’s "Have It Your Way" tagline. The site got 100 million hits in the two weeks after its launch, according to Burger King. Ad agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky came up with the concept of a giant chicken-man being instructed to perform various tasks at the whim of its owners.

Its impact on the advertising industry as a whole was huge- before Subservient Chicken, most agencies and brands had been reluctant to invest in the internet, uncertain of how it could be useful to them, and viewing it more as a threat than an opportunity. Subservient Chicken showed that brands could use the internet to be playful, risqué, and interactive with consumers.

Almost exactly a decade later, Burger King is bringing this digital marketing concept back with new agency David, part of the WPP group. The brand has relaunched with the intention of promoting a new chicken sandwich, but this time, things were a little different.

Visitors to the site were initially greeted with a 'Missing Chicken Error' message. The campaign's star, it seems, has flown the coop.

To tease the video, Burger King planned to run ads in several major newspapers Sunday, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

The campaign will not include TV ads, instead, relying on stealth: a #FindTheChicken hashtag that consumers were encouraged to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+; a photo gallery; and a series of newspaper ads that didn't mention Burger King at all comprised the campaign's preliminary phase.

After the teaser activity, Burger King posted a video of Subservient Chicken's life and reincarnation as Chicken Big King.

Apparently, after Burger King gave him the boot, the only work he could get was entertaining children at parties, entering cock-fighting contests, and buying beer for teenagers. Then, like ‘Rocky’, the chicken turned himself around by eating right and working out. His signature move? The "double pecker."

Watch a sample of the original video here:

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