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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6 comments

  1. If this is the best that Burger King can afford or that the Public Relations can come up with they should be losers in the burger war. My first response is not of cock fights but of very bad taste, violence and not much imagination. Personally, I would pick Burger King over McDonal's any day but the thought of those commercials just make me want a Big Mac!!!

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  2. What does it say about the American public that we could be attracted to a commercial where a man in an ugly chicken suite is shown repeatedly pummeling someone on their knees and think it is funny? Shame on Burger King for promoting a commercial that shows children such behavior. I plan to encourage anyone I know to avoid Burger King as a source for fast food. A company that thinks that such displays of violence is appropriate should not be supported. My vote is pull the add and fire the add company. That would be a step in the right direction.
    Patty Cornish, RN

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  3. The chicken fight commercial I can tolerate, however, Burger King has run sooooo many tasteless ads lately, [i.e., the 'bling' commercial with the boobs and booty of some chick in a hip-hop video being shaken all over one of the restuarants is definitely not conducive to keeping your appetite}, that we haven't been to one of their burger joints since that ad appeared. Granted, I haven't seen it lately, but would rather get my burger fix at Sonic or Mickey D's!

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  4. Watching two men dressed as chickens brawling in an alley is DUMBEST s_it I've ever seen. What has fast food come to? To watch some giant chicken just pummel some guy in an alley, and act like it's a championship fight is totally retarded. And the person who came up with the concept or idea and created this commercial, is not showing to much creativity. How much you paying him? You can pay me and I'll produce a better commercial than that. Thank you.

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  5. Well, it looks like I am in the minority, but I will say it again. Crispin Porter is one of the smartest, most creative firms out there - it's a great catch for Burger King to have that firm.

    It's just maybe Chicken Fight wasn't the best move.

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  6. I'm updating my view - Crispin Porter is good at male advertising, but doesn't know how to advertise to females.

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