Posts Tagged ‘Subservient Chicken’

By Lindsey Dietz, MBA Class of 2012

In week nine, we are required to turn in a short paper examining a unique and innovative digital media campaign. In order to help us get thinking about this I wanted to introduce one of my favorite viral campaigns. This is an oldie but goodie!

Burger King (BK) decided to market their TenderCrisp chicken sandwich since they were commonly known primarily as a burger supplier and wanted to increase market share. BK hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky to help them develop a marketing campaign to increase awareness and sales. The campaign idea was to expand their slogan “Have it Your Way” to include chicken. Historically people associated the slogan with having a burger your way. The campaign was designed to make customers aware that you can also have chicken your way. From this rational the subservient chicken campaign was born.

In April 2004, the campaign went viral with the launch of the subservient chicken website. The website predominately features a video screen with a man dressed in a chicken suite standing in the center of a living room. At the bottom of the screen is a field for text and a submit button. There are prerecorded videos of nearly 400 different commands that the user can ask the chicken to perform. If you type, unusual or unethical command the chicken will approach the camera and shake his finger “no” at you.

I encourage everyone to spend some time experiencing this groundbreaking work at http://www.subservientchicken.com/pre_bk_skinned.swf

We have discussed objectives in class regarding campaign success and the metrics used to evaluate e-marketing. Below are some of the reported results of the online campaign.

Statistics from an e-marketing case study show:

  • First day of release the site received one million hits
  • First week the site received 20 million hits
  • March of 2005 the site had received 14 million unique visitors (less than one year after launch).
  • March of 2005 the site it received 396 million total hits
  • Average time spent viewing the site is estimated at 6-7 minuets

The site and online strategy appear to be a wild success with countless creative awards and amazing online activity. Success from online viral campaigns have to translate into business success and tie directly into business goals and objectives. The questions that the business executives at Burger King really wanted answered are: Did the online success translate into increased awareness of the TenderCrisp sandwich? Did it create increased sales? Did the campaign increase market share? The online metrics can be successful without meeting the goals and objectives of the organization as a whole.

Sales statistics from 2004-2007: Info from http://www.viralblog.com/viral-cases/subservient-chicken/

  • One month after launch BK reported sales increased an average of 9% a week for the Tender Crisp.
  • BK reported ‘double-digit’ awareness growth of the TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich by 2007. (Site was not taken down)
  • BK reported a substantial increase chicken sandwich sales.
  • BK reported the TenderCrisp did sell better than the Original Chicken Sandwich.

The cutting-edge creative and lightly branded campaign were a success based on the online metrics. In addition, the online success appears to have met the objectives of the strategy to increase sales, awareness and market share. The campaign was successful despite some critics claiming the BK brand was not identifiable enough. Many awards were received for the creative and success of this e-marketing campaign and it will likely go down in history as one of the most successful early viral campaigns.

What do you think?

Does the creative deserve this notoriety?

Do you think the branding was visible enough to drive BK sales?

What are your impressions of viral marketing as a tactic for e-marketers?

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