The Subservient Chicken is an advertising program created to promote international fast food restaurant chain Burger King's TenderCrisp chicken sandwich and their "Have it Your Way" campaign. Created for the Miami-based advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky (abbreviated to CP+B) by The Barbarian Group, the program featured a viral marketing website, television and print campaigns and a one time pay-per-view program. The program was similar to other marketing campaigns created by CP+B for Burger King, including the Coq Roq, Ugoff, and Sith Sense.
The TenderCrisp sandwich was first advertised using the Subservient Chicken character in a commercial called the Subservient Chicken Vest. The commercial was the first in a series of ads for the sandwich utilizing a line of viral marketing promotions by Crispin Porter + Bogusky for Burger King. In the ad, a man is sitting in his living room directing a person in a chicken suit to behave in any way he wants. The tag line was "Chicken the way you like it." After the success of the Subservient Chicken, Burger King used the character in several subsequent advertising campaigns.
Other advertising programs
- The TenderCrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch sandwich was promoted in the United States by a 2005 television advertising campaign directed by David LaChapelle and featuring recording artist Darius Rucker (of Hootie and the Blowfish) singing a country-style jingle to the tune of "Big Rock Candy Mountain." The ad also starred television presenter Brooke Burke, model Vida Guerra, and members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
- Some critics have pointed out that the advertisement seemed to have little to do with sandwiches, employing a variety of scantily clad women and sexual innuendo, with lines such as "There’s a train of ladies comin’ with a nice caboose" coinciding with scenes that enforce the double entendres. The jingle proved to be quite popular on some internet communities, thereby helping the sandwich to develop somewhat of a cult-like following.
- With the introduction of the Spicy TenderCrisp Sandwich, CP+B created the Chicken Fight ad program. The ads featured a forthcoming boxing match billed as The two "cockfighting chickens" between two people in chicken suits, one as "TC" and the other as "Spicy", a second chicken with orange "plumage". The actual "fight" was broadcast as one time short on DirecTV.
- ;Big Buckin' Chicken/Big Huckin' Chicken
- In March 2006, Big Buckin' Chicken commercial for Tendercrisp Cheesy Bacon Chicken Sandwich featured the Subservient Chicken again. The TV ad showed 8 mm-style footage of a cowboy riding the chicken in a rodeo while people on the sideline cheer on. An accompanying jingle states, "Big buckin' chicken/you are big, you are chicken." The voice over concludes that "the only way to beat it, is to eat it." The character was reused in another TenderCrisp ad riding a dirt bike, titled Big Huckin' Chicken.
In addition to the commercials, there is The Subservient Chicken web page. On the page, an actor in a chicken costume performs a wide range of actions based on a user's input, showing pre-recorded footage and appearing like an interactive webcam
. The site takes literally the advertising slogan "Get chicken just the way you like it". The site launched on April 8, 2004. The site was created for CP+B and BK by The Barbarian Group
and is hosted at GSI
in Kansas City, Missouri.
There are more than three hundred commands that the Subservient Chicken will respond to, including:
- Read a book from his bookcase.
- Have a drink of water
- Barrel roll
- Golf Swing
- Do the YMCA
- Electric Slide
- Turn off the lights
- Shake that booty
- Watch TV
- Kick an imaginary soccer ball.
There is also an easter egg in the program: if you type Crispin, the company name, into the box, a load of people, supposedly the creators, will pop out from behind a sofa and walk off.
When told to perform sex acts, take off his mask, or do anything the Subservient Chicken considers offensive, the chicken walks up to the camera and shakes a scolding chicken finger in disappointment. When told to eat food from rival fast food chain McDonald's, he approaches the camera and places his finger down his throat, when told to eat Burger King he has a more positive response. If he is told to 'join PETA', he performs the same action as when a 'dizzy' command is typed in. The chicken responds to the command "smoke" by smoking, but when told to "smoke a bong" he waggles his finger scoldingly. If told to "choke" he attempts to strangle himself. When commanded to do anything with the word "me" in it, he approaches the camera and looks at you, turning his head a few times. When told to take off his costume, the chicken shows that he is stuck inside his costume.
Parodies and similar sites