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Ford_Cat.jpgWhy did the Subservient Chicken cross the road? Because 47 million people told it to. Why did the cute little orange cat lose its head? Because an evil Ford Sportka sunroof chopped it off for laughs.
Burger King and Ford both have viral campaigns running on the Internet. Both are dying to get a crack at the elusive 20-something customer, whose attention to traditional advertising is rare as hen’s teeth. Both their PR agencies have laid an egg in press releases about the campaigns. Burger Kings press release is just lame. Ford’s is scary.
Burger King is clucking with joy about the 47 million hits its Subservient Chicken got in its first 10 days online. At the site, an actor in a chicken suit and garter belt follows commands typed in by visitors (but refuses x-rated requests.) The concept is an example of the worldwide trend known as “mass customization,” since the site lets every visitor have his or her own experience with the chicken.
Created by Burger King’s new ad agency Miami-based Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Subservient Chicken is a scheme to get young adults (particularly 20-something men) buzzing about Burger King’s chicken sandwiches.
Word got out even before the site was out of beta testing, said CPB’s creative director Andrew Keller. He claims that all they did was email the url to 20 friends on April 7, when the site went live, and viral marketing did the rest. Before long, blogs started to cite the site’s resemblance to a porn cam. I didn’t see the connection, but apparently everyone else on the planet did. Nonetheless, there was general agreement that the site is fun and almost too hip to be associated with a major brand.
In the Ford Sportka video, a curious orange cat looks into the open sun roof of a Sportka. The roof slams shut, beheading the screaming cat, whose limp body falls on the ground. Ford blames Ogilvy & Mather, who they say released the disgusting Sportka kitty snuff clip without authorization. Yeah right!
Viral marketing is free, fast, and instantly credible because it is passed from friend to friend. The Web quickly amplifies these memes (contagious ideas) through word of mouse. That