Mark S. Pendolino
|INTERACTIVE MEDIA aND MARKETING|
|Burger King's Interactive|
BK's Interactive Sites
Subservientchicken.com gained much attention. It truly utilized the viral marketing techniques, defined earlier. The idea was to get people talking, to send a message, to do something really, well, out there. It worked. Without any promotion of its site, BK generated a lot of traffic.
A mere 10 days after subservient chicken went live, Google provided over 700 links to sites discussing the site, the site itself also received over 20 million hits (Taylor 2004). That number has since increased - in October it was up to more than 350 million hits worldwide. And in keeping with the idea that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the 2004 political hoopla saw its version of "Subservient President," featuring an identical interface with a person in a George W. mask performing various commands from the user.
The Angus Diet
Featuring a motivational speaker who plays the viola, speaks to large crowds, sits at the bottom of a waterfall with burger in hand, and watches you from his desk as you send an intervention to a friend, the Angus Diet site is something completely out of left field, but with the branding of BK still intact. Intended to promote its Angus steak burger, the site is deep with interactive possibilities.
In another attempt to further its viral marketing skills, CP+B's Dr. Angus creation allows visitors to build interactive "Angus Interventions," intended to be humorous ways of stepping into a friend's life and reminding him that life should be enjoyed. Visitors can build from the approximately 30 pre-made "interventions," which can be customized with a recipients name and other personal details. The user can then e-mail a link to friends that will bring them to a site where an animated Dr. Angus will read the customized script using a text-to-speech technology (Newcomb 2004).
"We learned from Subservient Chicken that people want to be able to customize what's happening. When we originally concepted it, we didn't have so much customization. We were going to use real voice clips [in the latest effort], but we decided it would be more interesting if Dr. Angus could say what you wanted him to. The added customization made the intervention make much more sense," said Jeff Benjamin, CP+B's interactive creative director. "It's meant to feel very motivational," he added. "We want people to look at it and have fun and laugh."
In adding to its integration, the campaign also featured TV spots, which star Dr. Angus and include the URL and a toll-free number to call for help.
Continuing its "Have it Your Way" theme, Dr. Angus promotes the idea of finding pleasure, living your own lifestyle, finding joy in the things you do yourself.
Have it Your Way Nation
Attempting to speak to the younger set, BK also launched it's "Have it Your Way" site, featuring the Have it Your Way Nation. The Flash site, which features break dancing animated figures and hip-hop music, takes the visitor into a deep labyrinth of interactivity, once again giving options for talking to the site (submitting questions and feedback) and getting friends involved. The viral attempt here is to create a unique community of kids, all living large in the Nation.
In its latest and most involved campaign to promote its chicken sandwiches, BK launched Chickenfight.com. This site, complete with streaming video, an online game with customization, and a DirecTV event, utilizes integration and viral marketing, while still pushing its theme of having it your way. Capitalizing on the hoopla and hype generated by big-time boxing events, Chicken Fight looks just like a Tyson fight - except maybe of the beaked persuasion.
In an ad disguised as entertainment, BK promoted the big event: "TenderCrisp" Vs. "Spicy TenderCrisp," in what was billed as "Chaos in the Coop."
Starting October 26, BK used three national ads along with this site to drive interest in the main event - a Friday night (November 5) bout on DirecTV. The day before the big event, at least five million people had cast votes for their favorite chicken — T.C. (TenderCrisp) or Spicy (Spicy TenderCrisp) — at the site. The final votes will help determine the winner of tonight's "bout" (Howard 2004).
"Reaching our core customer in different, non-traditional ways is a requirement these days," said Brian Gies, Burger King's vice president of marketing impact in an interview with USA Today.
The site also features an abundance of streaming video, including clips of the chicken's weigh-in, their training regimes, and the actual event itself, which was shot at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena near Los Angeles. The big event, cast with a crowd of 400 or so extras, a couple of guys in chicken suits and ring that resembled a huge cage (complete with BK logos in each corner), turned into a 15-minute event that ran four times on DirecTV for an undisclosed amount.
The Power of Integration
The latest in BK's string of message promotion fully utilizes the fun and creativity in developing an integrated marketing campaign. Through television, email, web sites, print ads, streaming video, and interactive "interventions," BK is integrating its message to the target audience.
And how is it working - BK reported on October 4th that it reached its ninth-consecutive month of same-store sales growth with October sales up 6.9% (Howard 2004).
Interactivity aids communications. And it may be the medium that has the most effect. Next, we look at Herbert Marshall McLuhan's prophetic theories on communication and how it applies to today's efforts in interactivity in marketing.