Sunday, October 24, 2004

Chickenfight.com!

I love Crispin Porter & Bogusky. I think the commercials and online viral campaigns that they have done for Burger King rock, and almost make me want to go there - the whole purpose of a commercial (that, for some reason, advertisers sometimes forget).

Such great examples include:
For Chicken Fight, Burger King/CPB has also put together a free pay-per-view on Direct TV, and supported the campaign with commercials.

If you have seen a commercial, though, your first thought might be aligned with mine: um, isn't this promoting cockfights (which, I believe, are illegal in all 50 states). And, it gets a little worse, with one of the costumed chickens chasing a real, live chicken around an alley.

Oh, for good measure, the commercial throws in a Spanish speaking trainer, to give it more of the barrio feel.

Well, the complaints have rolled in. According to the NYT (halfway down):
The Humane Society of the United States in Washington has asked Burger King to stop running a new campaign for chicken sandwiches that the organization says makes light of cockfighting.
Burger King had a pretty good response: We're confident that the satire and spoof of the campaign is clearly understood by viewers.

That might be true. I've seen the commercials, and wish I had Direct TV to watch two guys in chicken suits beat each other up. But, at the same time, the commercials are in somewhat bad taste - the barrio setting, the Latino, the cockfights.

All-in-all, though, this is a great case study on crisis communications from step-one. Here is Burger King, a current loser in the Burger Wars, trying to gain customers. It's advertising agency creates a few cutting-edge ads and viral campaigns, that can backfire.

So, it's time for the PR firm to step in and try to alleviate any issues that may arise from cockfight accusations. Right now, it's just the Humane Society. If PETA decides to get into it, expect to see billboards and protests.
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