Burger King’s “Subservient Chicken” was one of the web’s first big viral marketing campaigns.
Created in 2004 by the ad agencies CP+B and the Barbarian Group, the campaign allowed people to visit a website, subservientchicken.com, that hosted what appeared to be a live video feed of a man in a chicken suit sitting in a living room.
When people typed in a command, e.g. “do jumping jacks,” the man in the chicken suit would act out what he was told via one of more than 400 pre-recorded actions. At the time, the promotion was totally revolutionary, and the site spread like wildfire to get 20 million hits in its first week.
But in the intervening decade, the Subservient Chicken has faced hard times. At least that’s the story in a 4-minute documentary Burger King made to re-introduce the mascot in support of its new Chicken Big King sandwich, which is sort of like a Big Mac but with fried chicken patties instead of beef.
In the video, above, we see the Subservient Chicken’s life go to ruin after his 15 minutes of fame come to end. He goes from being booked on national television to being jeered at children’s birthday parties and participating in a bizarre human cock-fighting event.
The Chicken ultimately goes to jail after being caught buying alcohol for teenagers.
But a boxing trainer finds him begging for work on the side of the street.
And whips him back into shape.
The “documentary” ends with a leaner, meaner Subservient Chicken shooting an ad for the new Chicken Big King. But when it’s his turn to appear on stage, he decides that after a decade of subservience, he’s done doing what he’s told.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.