Want 1 billion hits? Pull out your chicken suit
In 2004, Burger King launched ‘Subservient Chicken’; a man in a gaudy chicken suit that would perform “any” task dictated by the customers via a web cam. The Subservient Chicken did The Worm, jumping jacks, and perfected his golf swing as millions of Burger King fans eagerly watched on. It wasn’t exactly highbrow marketing material, but it did the job; the Burger King website clocked over 1 billion hits.
Recently, Burger King announced the return of the Subservient Chicken. Hoping to duplicate the success of a decade ago, they are marketing the submissive chicken as missing, with ‘Lost’ ads appearing in the New York Times and the Houston Chronicle. Fans are encouraged to use social media to share sightings of the stray bird. How do exceedingly simple concepts generate viral marketing gold?
Viral content taps in to the human psyche and is the Holy Grail for marketers. Viral marketing, stripped down to its most basic definition, is a form of marketing that propagates itself. This self-propagation occurs at an exponential rate that once it gains momentum, it is difficult to contain.
Since viral promotions encourage voluntary participation, the percentage of targeted traffic is high. Burger King is targeting their original fans that responded so heartily to the Subservient Chicken campaign 10 years ago. In fact, Burger King are extending their reach by adding social media in to their marketing mix.
Viral marketing is largely reliant on word-of-mouth. It is not the structured advertisement issued by a company which more often than not induces cynicism in the viewer. A good word by a satisfied customer does more for a product or company than a heavy ad spend on conventional advertisements, and it is this aspect of human behaviour that viral marketing looks to exploit.
Take a moment to evaluate why these 5 videos went viral in 2014:
1. Nike Football: Winner Stays https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XviR7esUvo
2. Nike Football: The Last Game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy1rumvo9xc
3. FIRST KISS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpbDHxCV29A
4. Always #LikeAGirl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs
5. World’s Toughest Job https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3xM93rXbY
Viral marketing campaigns are incredibly powerful, and once achieved, it is a marketing success difficult to duplicate. Share the video content that impacted you this year @marketingeyeaus