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Happy 5th Birthday Subservient Chicken
April 7, 2009 1:54 AM   Subscribe

The creators of the subservient chicken look back on how it all came to be. As seen on MetaFilter 5 years ago today.
posted by billyfleetwood (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like how the article's writer gets more and more modest the further I read. Without giving it away, the best part is at the end, where the viral ad campaign cures global warming, treats cancer and wins a Nobel Prize for Literature.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:56 AM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


How come the actor (actually one of the costume designers at Stan Winston studio) who played the chicken in the 400 clips isn't even named?
posted by elgilito at 4:10 AM on April 7, 2009


How come the actor (actually one of the costume designers at Stan Winston studio) who played the chicken in the 400 clips isn't even named?

Because he's not self-aggrandizing chicken?
posted by explosion at 4:24 AM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm going to link to Chicken: chicken chicken because it's more interesting than that article.
posted by mmoncur at 4:43 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Remember that thing we did five years ago? That was awesome.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:04 AM on April 7, 2009


This thing?
posted by gman at 5:10 AM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


The bright, innocent days before brass-goggled bacon.
posted by DU at 5:18 AM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


gman: "This thing?"

An Ask MeFi thread that both elicits and keeps a comment like "don't flatter yourself, bitch" meets my definition of "awesome".
posted by Joe Beese at 5:19 AM on April 7, 2009


Wow, this seems older than five years. Ah, internet memories, I just have no context for you.
posted by crossoverman at 5:21 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


That chicken was overrated - its been 5 years and it still won't obey my command to "go fuck yourself."
posted by Muddler at 5:26 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, that was pretty self-congratulatory considering all they did was put some weird clips of a guy in a chicken suit on the Internet. Maybe someday the guy who did Goatse will post a wistful retrospective to his blog about how 2G1C never would have existed without his contributions to the web.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:32 AM on April 7, 2009


The stand on the shoulders of giants, it helps if the giant is bent over and spread open like a Christmas turkey.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:34 AM on April 7, 2009


...bent over and spread open like a Christmas turkey.

Thanks for your contribution in helping making the world a little more vegetarian!
posted by DU at 5:42 AM on April 7, 2009


It seems strange for me to agree with Xeni Jardin about anything, but the fact that the Subservient Chicken is 5 years old is seriously making me feel ancient.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:55 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Wow, that was pretty self-congratulatory..."

I spent years working on the technical side of the advertising world (thankfully, I have returned to the relatively sane world of software development), and I have never met a group of people more filled with an over-inflated sense of self-importance than advertising creatives.

Seriously, people. You're making advertisements, not curing fucking cancer.
posted by brand-gnu at 6:52 AM on April 7, 2009


the fact that the Subservient Chicken is 5 years old is seriously making me feel ancient

I had to explain to someone what a cassingle was the other day.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:54 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't get all the hate in this thread. Subservient Chicken was tremendously creative and changed the way people think about marketing. And more importantly, everyone I knew thought it was hilarious.

I loved reading this, thanks for the link, billy.
posted by CRM114 at 6:55 AM on April 7, 2009


The tone seems a little over the top, particularly since this is the first I've ever heard of the project. I'm trying to remember what I was doing five years ago, but apparently it did not involve synthesized sleazy chickens.

I find his desire to record and construct a narrative about an event that's important to him understandable and maybe even admirable, but let's face it, it wasn't the moon landing. You have to be steeped very deeply not just in Internet culture, but in Internet-advertising-agency culture, to think of this as a major historical milestone.

What I did think was very neat though is how much of a historical record you can assemble about something that occurred 5 years ago, using things like email and IM logs; you can pretty much compile an almost minute-by-minute timeline of what you did on a particular day, if you care to. I don't think that would have been possible more than a few years ago.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:58 AM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


To clarify - I wasn't hating on the post, or on the Subservient Chicken, which I dig.

I was hating on the tone of the post on Barbarian's site, and on the tone of advertising creatives / execs in general.

Cool post, billy.
posted by brand-gnu at 6:59 AM on April 7, 2009


It's nice when ad people get really self-congratulatory over a vaguely original idea, rather than the usual approach of becoming incredibly self-congratulatory about ripping off other people's work and recieving awards and a small fortune for it.

Advertising: the hidden surcharge for making you buy the seemingly-glossier product.
posted by davemee at 7:06 AM on April 7, 2009


Happy 5th Birthday Subservient Chicken

Something about that made me check my profile and I discovered that my fifth anniversary as a MeFi member was five days ago. Happy anniversary to me!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:19 AM on April 7, 2009


Extraordinarily lame.
posted by inoculatedcities at 7:20 AM on April 7, 2009


Certainly far superior to any marketing that Burger King has done in the 5 years since.
posted by blucevalo at 7:22 AM on April 7, 2009


Great read. I loved that thing...
posted by ph00dz at 7:31 AM on April 7, 2009


Truth be told, while it was a topic of conversation with everyone I knew at first, subservient chicken never gave me a craving to go eat some chicken. On the contrary, it kinda turned me off on chicken. Basically, that ad campaign forced me to see chicken more as a dirty STD-filled hooker in a skanky hotel room with ikea furniture than as a meal filled with tasty satisfying deliciousness. Yes, it definitely got people talking but for me it just didn't inspire the reaction advertising is supposed to: ie, sales. I don't eat much junk food, but I avoided trying those sandwiches.

Your mileage indeed may vary, as I realize some people may much prefer imagining their chicken as a dirty STD-filled hooker and the campaign may have opened up a whole new world of chicken loving for them. More power to you all. And to chicken. Free world, baby. As long as you're not hurting anyone.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:50 AM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Subservient Chicken was tremendously creative and changed the way people think about marketing.

The thing exists to sell processed meat. Fine, it's creative, but it's not some watershed moment in the history of civilization.
posted by spicynuts at 8:17 AM on April 7, 2009


Right. It's a watershed moment in marketing. Which is what I said.
posted by CRM114 at 8:34 AM on April 7, 2009


I had heard of the chicken but only vaguely knew it was promoting the Tendercrisp. I like viral marketing and all that, but sometimes I just want there to be a title card that says, "Hey, go eat at Whopper, you dumb sheep."
posted by snapped at 9:17 AM on April 7, 2009


what now? some corporate advertisement of some sort? pfft. i was too busy trying out gmail by google that day five years ago.
posted by the aloha at 10:35 AM on April 7, 2009


It was clear, from there, that we needed a lot more keywords. Polite terminology, various types of slang, British and Scottish English, Spanish slang.

Scotland's not in Britain?
posted by acb at 10:54 AM on April 7, 2009


...and everyone has been trying to do the sma thing ever since....
posted by sh0ganai at 4:18 PM on April 7, 2009


or the same thing
...."sam thing" that's just crazy.
posted by sh0ganai at 4:18 PM on April 7, 2009


barbarian was smart enough to educate the masses, including corp marketing execs, about the power of authenticity in advertising to a new medium, in the lecture circuit that followed (e.g., sxsw), and people listened.

those of us familiar with the web -- we were all sending links like the exploding whale and Mahir around on a daily basis. that's what the web had to offer aside from useful content: entertaining, stupid shit. to participate in that forum as an advertiser required authenticity: the chicken offered that. up until that point all major advertisers had been banking on banner ads, overlays, popups, sponsorships, etc.

so give the guys some credit. it's nothing groundbreaking to the average mefi junkie who's been transmitting since dialup and BBSes, but the campaign and its fallout played a vital role in the shaping of the modern "web", so it's neat to hear details about how it came together.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 4:35 PM on April 7, 2009


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