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For the Love of Chicken Fries

Posted: April 1, 2015, 2:10 p.m.

by Annslee Wilson.

If you haven’t heard by now, Burger King brought back its beloved chicken fries (cue tears of joy). Chicken fries first graced us with their presence back in 2005, and left the menu, ever so tragically, in 2012. In August 2014, an outpouring of social media assisted in bringing the item back for a limited time. But now chicken fries are back – for good. In November, the chain reported a 3.6 percent increase in sales for its third quarter, accounting for its largest sales increase in two years for U.S. and Canada stores. That’s a whole lot of chicken fries.

We have seen a great deal of publicity stunts from the King of Burgers in the past (think “Whopper Sacrifice” and “Subservient Chicken”), but this time, things got weird.

Last week, Burger King introduced us to Gloria, the three-year-old Rhode Island red chicken that was the face of the #RandomGloria Tour. Gloria and her team traveled to seven BK locations along the East Coast throughout the week to determine which locations will bring back chicken fries. On BK’s website, the introductory video begins with, “Chicken fries have a passionate, obsessive following. And a decision like this was way too much for the BK folks to handle, so they decided to find the perfect chicken to decide for them.” Oh, yes, leave it to the chicken to decide if we get to eat more chicken.

Loyal chicken fries fans arrived in masses at each location to witness the big reveal, while each day was broadcast on the website’s live feed. Gloria climbed to the top of her coop where two bowls of feed sat in her path, one bowl labeled “yes” and the other labeled “no.” Which ever bowl Gloria chose to eat from would determine whether or not chicken fries would return. Gloria chose the “yes” bowl for four of the six locations.

13808224514_10c4acfc96_oOn Monday, the day after the tour completed, Burger King announced to the nation that chicken fries are now a permanent menu item at all locations. Poor Gloria was overruled. And naturally, the stunt received criticism from none other than, you guessed it – PETA. To throw the cherry on top, BK also gave the nation something else to talk about: a chicken fries emoticon keyboard download. The app could be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play store.

If those two publicity stunts don’t convince you that BK is trying to target a younger audience, then be sure to check out its new TV spots. One of the commercials features a rooster swiping through what appears to be the Tinder app. None of the potential matches quite live up to his standards until he comes across french fries, where he becomes infatuated and “swipes right.” This ad is an attempt to promote the chicken fries as a combo, with fries and a medium drink. Hasta luego, a la carte.

Competitors such as McDonalds, Wendy’s and Taco Bell have received praise in regards to their recent creative and publicity efforts. While I commend BK for its loyalty to its favorite menu item, it’s time BK looked to its competitors for some TLC. In the meantime, pass the chicken fries please.

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