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The Culture Industry on the Internet: Memes and the BK Case Study

Don't ask the Subervient Chicken to do something crass...

Don't ask the Subervient Chicken to do something crass... (Click on me to have some fun!)

Viral Marketing-The Burger King Case Study

Do you remember BK’s subservient chicken?  In 2004 I giggled along with my suite mate in college as we playing around with this, because we were of course putting in inappropriate things for the chicken to do. (He will pee on the couch, but won’t eat McDonalds or go vegan.)

Why the blast from the past?   After one day of this marketing campaign, over 1 million unique visitors had been to Burger Kings website (Wired).  It is an interactive website–still available on BK’s website–that is a great example of what a company’s web presence should be: full of little nuggets of content that expand on the brand and engage the user with Burger King’s products. The avian piece of corporately produced “viral” content above is engaging and acts in a memetic way.

The Simpson’s Movie is one of many films (Dark Knight, The Watchman, etc.) that possessed an inherent fan base before its theatrical release. Large online campaigns before the release including websites and video content were therefore wildly successful. Again BK sponsored a unique experience: everyone could “Simpsonize” themselves before the theatrical release.  Anyone with a facebook account can remember how profile pictures on whole seemed to have more of a yellowish tinge to them during that time.

BK let you Simpsonize yourself! Not anymore unfortunately :)

BK let you Simpsonize yourself! Not anymore unfortunately :(

Finally BK partnered with the creative mind behind Family Guy to sponser “Seth McFarland’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy” which consisted of weekly releases of short videos on youtube.  One of the videos Super Mario Rescues The Princess, had been watched over 2.1 million times shortly after its release, and it become the most popular video of the week (tvwire.com). The clips proved to be a viral in nature and had BK advertising elements including billboards with a small 5 second humorous clip of the King. Below is my favorite  of the BK sponsored videos:

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Burger King is the perfect example of how large companies have began to successfully mimic meme culture to market their products

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