Substance vs. Flash

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In his latest post about viral marketing, the always dead-on John Moore serves us another platter of wicked wisdom tapas:

"My advice to clients is to spend dollars to make the product more remarkable, not to make the word of mouth tactic more remarkable."

So yeah, while BK's subservient chicken and the "Wake Up With The King" campaigns are clever, cool and the subject of oodles of attention, they only serve to perpetuate themselves. They do absolutely nothing to get me into a Burger King.

(Now, a $0.99 whopper, on the other hand...)

Don't het me wrong: Cool ideas, especially in advertising always get my attention... BUT the "cool factor" (or in this case, the "fresh" factor) of a campaign is quick to fade when it does more for the agency that developed it than for the brand it was intended to represent.

If there's no substance behind an ad, its shelf-life will be counted in single-digits. In other words, while viral is fun, it's also a tricky medium. It has to be backed up by something actually worth talking about. A new product. A product Improvement. Something.

Case in point: Giantology's brilliant faux archeological digs (complete with videos and nessy-esque reports) is the perfect viral vehicle for Sony Playstation 2's upcoming "Shadow of the Colossus". (Thanks, Spike.)

Chick-Fil-A's "Eat More Chickins" campaign has been going strong for as long as I can remember. The latest in the collection of quirky cow fetish head trips is a loosely medieval calendar of famous cows, including bovine versions of Lancelot, Joan Of Arc, Robin Hood (and possibly even Vercingetorix, but I'll have to double-check that one).

Granted, seeing the renegade cows dangling from giant billboards doesn't make me instantly crave a chicken sandwich, but they do help me identify with the brand. Moreover, next time I do crave a chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A will most likely be the first company I will think of.

The cheekishly creepy king and the subservient chicken, on the other hand, make me crave more creative advertising, but not a trip to Burger King.

But back to the point: Without something of substance to anchor a viral campaign to, you're left with essentially... um... nothing more than flash.

If Burger King were to finally develop decent fries (think McDonald's and Wendy's), now THAT would be something worth talking about. Know what I mean?

What's on BK's menu these days anyway? Why should I bother to find out? Neither the king nor the chicken are telling me, and that's really too bad.

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