Ten years ago, Burger King launched what is still one of the more bizarre marketing ploys of the Internet era — the Subservient Chicken, a “webcam” featuring a person in a chicken suit doing the bidding of visitors to the site. Because there are now people old enough to drive cars and go to college who missed this exceedingly creepy campaign the first time around, BK has (sort of) brought it back… though not quite.
The fast food chain doubled-down (oops, wrong restaurant) on its attempt to revive the obedient, oversized poultry over the weekend, both relaunching the subservientchicken.com site — though with a “Missing Chicken Error” that reads “Help. There’s a chicken on the loose and we are desperately trying to find him.” — and in “Have You Seen This Chicken?” bulletins that ran in papers around the country.
The original Subservient Chicken site, with its grainy, security cam look attracted around 1 billion visitors, most of whom would then either sit there and argue with their friends about whether it was an actual live cam (it wasn’t), or who would type things in to see how subservient the chicken actually was (not very).
It remains to be seen if BK will eventually get the chicken back in front of the cam or if its lawyers have advised the company that it may be breaking USDA regulations regarding the treatment of poultry.
Because I still occasionally have nightmares featuring the Subservient Chicken and his pal — that monstrous big-headed Burger King I pray never returns — I’m perfectly fine with this particular chicken remaining free range.