Burger King’s Back With New Buzz

Burger King has debuted another online buzz marketing campaign as part of the “Angus Diet” effort for its Angus burger.

The site, at www.angusintervention.com, features fictional self-help guru Dr. Angus dispensing interactive “Angus Interventions”, intended to be humorous ways of stepping into a friend’s life and reminding him that life should be enjoyed. The site offers about 30 pre-made “interventions”, which can be tailored with a recipients name and other personal details. The user can then email a link to friends that will bring them to a site where an animated Dr. Angus will read the customized script using Oddcast’s text-to-speech technology.

Created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky of ‘Subservient Chicken‘ fame, the interventions parody the self-help movement’s use of affirmations by providing users with a list of humorous alternatives — including “Stop Wearing Underwear All The Time” and ‘”Stop Spreading Companywide Emails”. Users can also submit their own suggestions for new Interventions, which will be added in coming weeks.

As with Burger King’s Subservient Chicken campaign, the reasoning behind Angus Interventions is that people will spread the word about this site because it is humorous, and because it is customizable to fit their own lives, according to Jeff Benjamin, creative director at Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

“We learned from Subservient Chicken that people want to be able to customize what’s happening. When we originally concepted it, we didn’t have so much customization. We were going to use real voice clips [in the latest effort], but we decided it would be more interesting if Dr. Angus could say what you wanted him to. The added customization made the intervention make much more sense,” he said.

Both campaigns target the elusive and highly coveted segment of 18- to 34-year-old men, a group that is often considered resistant to traditional ads. Benjamin believes it’s also becoming increasingly difficult to reach people on the Internet, because consumers are starting to see the same things over and over again.

“The Internet is such a young medium, but at the same time, it’s become tired so quickly,” Benjamin said. “We’ve lost focus of innovation and invention on the Internet, and approaching that innovation with real advertising concepts. I think now we’re starting to see that more with some of the work that’s coming out.”

The campaign is meant to be a branding vehicle, but it’s also meant to work in concert with TV and radio spots to increase the Burger King brand presence, Benjamin said. “You’ll play with Dr. Angus online, then see a TV spot, and that sort of brand presence means that much more to you. These things are there to work together to sell in the long run.”

The viral portion of the campaign is being led by U.K.-based Digital Media Communciations (DMC). For its part, DMC takes the creatives developed by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, identifies potential audiences, and gets in touch with people who have influence with that audience, said DMC’s CEO Justin Kirby, who is also a founder of the Viral and Buzz Marketing Association.

“Things left to their own devices can potentially go viral without being kick-started by some seeding process, but it can happen quite slowly.” Kirby said. “Sometimes you need to give things a gentle nudge, and make sure they get into the right places to start with, and to the right people.”

One of the most important parts of any buzz marketing initiative is making sure what you’re promoting is something that people will want to talk to each other about, rather than try to manipulate the buzz, he said. So it’s really about trying to create messages that are interesting enough to spread.

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