Burger King's Fighting Chickens
- A duo of feisty chickens created in 2004 to advertise Burger King's TenderCrisp (TC) and Spicy TenderCrisp chicken sandwich menu at Burger King
Employing actors in Stan Winston made chicken suits, the Burger
King Corporation - assisted by Miami's Crispin Porter & Bogusky ad agency -
introduced ad spots promoting "Burger King Presents Chicken Sandwich World
Championship" which aired November 5th 10PM on Direct TV Channel 340 after a few
initial commercial spots pumped up the public's interest in the event.
Billed as "Chaos in a Coop." (a parody of such real life fights as "The
Rumble in the Jungle" and "The Thrilla in Manila") the mock event pit a white
chicken named TC (TenderCrisp) with a fiery red feathered fowl named Spicy in a
knock-out fight that hoped to prove which was the best chicken sandwich on
Burger King's menu.
"The gold bird TC vs. red hot Spicy.
Two chickens. One quest.
The Chicken Sandwich World Championship.
See who wins. Live. It's time to take sides."
Spicy (a.k.a. "The Red Riot") was known for his ferocious kicks. He hailed from
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. His trainer was Pappi Garcia. Spicy's equally
formidable opponent, TC (a.k.a. "The Golden Bird") was famous for his
devastating right hook.
Eventually, a 15-minute battle between TC and Spicy unfolded with all the
festivity of a gladiatorial competition. As the two dynamic fowls entered the
ring at the Pico Rivera Sport arena outside Los Angeles, cheers and boos filled
the hall to herald the impending chicken combat that would feature the combined
skills of boxing, wrestling, kickboxing and other assorted martial arts moves.
Hosted by Don "The Dragon" Wilson (Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion of the
World for 12 years) and Carlos Del Valle (a sportscaster at KNBC-4 in L.A), the
tongue-in-beak event focused on a big enclosed wire cage called "The Poultry
Penitentiary" that measured 20-by-20-by-20 feet. Inside there were two
8-foot-high perches that served as the fighter's corners. Joe Moldinado refereed
the event whose rules were simple: The first chicken to knock out the other was
the winner. "Practically anything goes. It's an all-out brawl," Wilson explained.
In the end, the fight lasted two rounds with Spicy chicken taking out his plucky
opponent with a strangle "sleeper" hold that suffocated TC, and collapsed his
feathery body at Spicy's feet. But because the hold used by Spicy was "illegal,"
the judges awarded the match to TC. The decision, of course, left open the door
for a rematch.
This battle of the birds created such hype that Intertops.com, one of the
Internet's first and largest sports betting sites, was accepting wagers on the
outcome of this farcical event. Intertops company spokesperson Michael Waerz
commented, "This is the first time we are offering odds on actors in a chicken
costume beating each other silly. We realize how sizzling this fight is, so we
thought it would be a great opportunity for our customers to get in on the
action." The odds are 10/13 on "Spicy" and 10/11 on "TC."
Not everyone was enthusiastic about Burger King using cock fighting to promote
their products, however. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) called
on the BK company to pull its "chicken fight" advertisement because it makes
light of what HSUS described as the barbaric and widespread practice of
cockfighting. Despite the fact that a disclaimer stating that "No real chickens
are being harmed" and that neither Burger King nor Intertops.com endorse or
condone animal cruelty in any way, The Humane Society saw little humor in the
festivities that glorified the pummeling of poultry on a nationwide telecast.
More that one million people visited the Burger King website prior to the main
event to vote for their favorite chicken. The actual fight was also
simulcast on the Internet. As for whom the actors are underneath the chicken costumes, it's still a mystery.
TRIVIA NOTE: A few months before the fighting chicken ad spots, the Burger King
folks had hosted a website called "Subservient Chicken." The website let
visitors type in commands while the chicken on the screen did exactly what you
asked (within reason). Another earlier BK spot featured Dr. Angus, a fictional
doctor "famous" for his Angus steak-burger diet.
*DISCLAIMER: "No real chickens were harmed in the making of this advertising
campaign. Burger King Corporation does not endorse or condone animal cruelty in
any way including chicken fighting. The chicken characters featured in this
advertising campaign are just actors wearing a chicken costume."
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