Ten years ago, Burger King ran a Subservient Chicken advertising campaign as a play on the chain’s “Have It Your Way” motto. Back then, it involved a man dressed up like a bird, dutifully carrying out commands that fans asked him to do via the Internet. Now, the lovable chicken is being used as a promotional tool again, but there’s a slight twist.
This time around, the chicken has gone missing. Burger King customers are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for the recognizable bird, thanks to newspaper advertisements bearing the tagline “Have you seen this chicken?” They’re realistically detailed with a description of the bird, and an e-mail that people can use to offer tips for the search process
This past Thursday, Burger King even got on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon by posting a picture of the mascot, accompanied by the phrase, “We miss you, Subservient Chicken.” In case you’re not familiar with the Throwback Thursday phenomenon, it involves people posting old pictures of themselves on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. The images are usually posted along with the #tbt hashtag. When Burger King decided to tie its promotional efforts into that trend, it showed the chain is still well aware of what resonates with customers.
Burger King has also relaunched a website devoted to the bird, and it features security camera-style pictures documenting his last known whereabouts. As you might expect, Burger King has encouraged people to take to social media to help with the search, using the hashtag #FindTheBird.
On Wednesday, the website will broadcast a short film at called TBD that profiles the rise and eventual fall of Internet celebrities. The Subservient Chicken certainly falls into that category, since the original campaign racked up more than a billion online views. That’s especially impressive since the Internet was nowhere near as dominant a decade ago as it is today.
This contemporary version of the Subservient Chicken campaign was introduced to the world again not just to mark the mascot’s tenth anniversary, but also to coincide with the launch of Burger King’s Chicken Big King Sandwich.
Burger King is trying to keep this advertising venture mostly restricted to the online realm. The initial version also included several TV spots, but the push this time is heavily geared toward social media. Once the wayward fowl is found, there’s no word if he’ll be as eager as he once was to act as commanded while fans looked on. That may be all the more reason to keep diligently looking for him along with the rest of the world so you can find out.