Burger King’s subservient chicken is back, but he’s on the loose. The fast-food chain is reviving its clever digital ad campaign, now 10 years old. In its original incarnation, the subservient chicken was a man-sized beast trapped in a nondescript living room that users could control online by typing hundreds of commands. If you told the chicken to moonwalk or pee on the couch, he would dutifully obey. The campaign was crafted to promote Burger King’s new TenderCrisp chicken sandwich at the time, and it aligned nicely with the company's “Have it Your Way” slogan. It was viral marketing in the days before YouTube.
Now, the chicken’s room is empty, and Burger King is “desprately trying to find him,” according to an error message on the campaign’s promotional website. A series of stills from security cameras show the chicken prowling in parking decks and dark city streets. The fast-food chain has also taken out ads in several newspapers that look like missing person notices. Burger King is encouraging people to use the hashtag “#FindTheChicken” to promote the campaign, which is for the company's new Chicken Big King sandwich.
Later this week Burger King will debut a short online film about the fleeting fame of Internet celebrities, featuring “Saved by the Bell” star Dustin Diamond. And it’s likely that the chicken will eventually be found and resume his subservient antics sometime soon. The original campaign racked up one billion online views, according to Ad Age.