The year was 2004. 52 million people watched the Friends finale, the Red Sox finally broke the curse, American Idol and Survivor were the most popular reality shows, (OK, let’s just ignore that one) MySpace was positioned to become the most important social media platform ever, and Burger King made history with the Subservient Chicken campaign — the revolutionary, first of its kind viral marketing website which showed big companies that maybe there was something to this whole “internet” thing, after all.
And now they’re bringing it back. Because as it turns out, in 2004 people also liked fast food a whole lot more than they do now. From the AP:
Burger King, like other traditional fast-food chains, is struggling to boost sales as well. As for attention on social media, the chain’s most memorable recent moment in the spotlight may have been when its Twitter account was hacked. The hacker changed its profile picture to the McDonald’s logo and tweeted messages containing obscenities, references to drug use and racial epithets.
If you’ll recall, the original campaign, which was created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky to help promote BK’s TenderCrisp sandwiches under the guise “chicken the way you like it,” displayed a creepy human-sized chicken dressed in garters who performed hundreds of pre-recorded tasks such as moonwalking and doing pushups that could be typed in by visitors. The whole thing had a creepy Myst/snuff film vibe to it, and — at the time, working in a cubicle farm — my coworkers and I felt like we had struck gold.
The site is already live at www.subservientchicken.com, which displays the empty room where the chicken originally appeared with a pop-up alert for a “Missing Chicken Error” that prompts people to click a “Help Us” button to share on social media. Burger King also intends to air a “short film” this coming Wednesday at 9p.m. to detail the “rise and fall” of the Subservient Chicken.
Eric Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer for Burger King North America, declined to provide details about the video that will be posted Wednesday, but said the idea is that the chicken is “turning the tables” on people. It will include an appearance by Dustin Diamond, the actor best known for playing Screech on the teen sitcom “Saved By the Bell.”
“I don’t want to spoil it, but he’s an incredible addition to the film,” Hirschhorn said.
I don’t know what the Subservient Chicken has been doing over the past ten years but I do know what Dustin Diamond has. All I can say is that if this has anything to do with what I think it does, then I would rather watch every Human Centipede movie back to back before I’d watch Screech give a creepy man-sized chicken a “Dirty Sanchez.”