At Burger King, a hen named Gloria tops the pecking order when it comes to deciding which restaurant will serve Chicken Fries.
In an unusual marketing stunt designed to get tongues clucking, the fast-food chain and agency David are sending the bird on a national tour of select BK locations.
At each of her stops, Gloria is presented with bowls of feed marked "Yes" and "No." If she chooses to dine from the bowl marked "Yes," Chicken Fries will be served at that restaurant, but only for one day.
"Gloria has the final word," says BK. "She can't be bought, seduced or swayed. After the decision, fans can take celebratory or sad-face photos with her." (I'd like to think that most folks have better things to do with their time, but this is America, after all.)
After disappearing from BK menus a few years back, Chicken Fries—deep-fried chicken strips served with side sauces—returned last summer for a limited time. Now, seeking maximum publicity for the popular item, the chain's sending Gloria out among the masses.
#RandomGloria and #ChickenFries are the campaign hashtags, and there's a website with a daily live stream of Gloria's travels. Of course, it's all being chronicled on YouTube for those who can't catch it live.
Gloria's first stop was Tuesday in Bayonne, N.J., where she was greeted by chants of "Chicken Fries! Chicken Fries!" as she ascended her platform and thrust her beak into the "No" bowl. I thought the throng might pluck her feathers and slap on the batter right then and there. Luckily, Gloria survived to visit a BK in Colmar Manor, Md., where the town's mayor exclaimed, "We're going to declare this Chicken Fry Day!" which I thought was a tasty bit of unintentional wordplay, even if it was Wednesday when she said it.
Some commenters are crying foul and claim it's sadistic for a chicken to decide if her own kind will be served as food to humans. They've branded the whole enterprise as mean-spirited.
I say, if the campaign ultimately lays an egg, blame the marketing suits who really rule the roost. Gloria's clearly just winging it.
UPDATE: In the end, Chicken Fries will be available at BKs nationwide as a permanent menu item, probably because the brand's execs eventually realized they were smarter—or at least more ruthless—than a chicken. Meanwhile, Gloria should probably consider flying the coop and going free range after selling out her feathered friends.