Who’s Subservient Now?

“Subservient Chicken” creator Crispin, Porter and Bogusky (CPB) is supporting a new holiday-themed site for Method with an online ad campaign, including banners and other media placements.

Like the agency’s work for Burger King, the new Web presence urges people to type messages to it, then rewards them with customized responses. But in a reversal of that effort, CPB and its client put users in the submissive role.

The site for Method soap combines a “confession” theme with customized audio and video loops. Visitors to ComeClean.com are encouraged to type in their transgressions, which then appear in script on a woman’s hand before being washed away with Method soap. A woman’s voice, with a clean-sounding Indian accent, offers snippets of mock-wisdom, customized according to keywords in each confession.

“The whole brand is based on cleaning, both physically and spiritually,” said Jeff Benjamin, Crispin, Porter and Bogusky’s interactive creative director.

The idea is people can wash away the sins of their year in the run-up to the holidays. Once users have confessed and their transgression is commented on, the site’s voice offers absolution: “You are clean. Your soul is absolutely gorgeous. Go get ’em, Tiger,” she says in one case. In another: “Your hands are now clean. You have permission to enter the gift shop.”

While “Subservient Chicken” lacks sound, “Come Clean’s” gimmick is largely audio-based. In addition to the voice, the site is laced with sitar music and the sound of a running faucet.

The gift shop markets a single holiday-themed product, a “Holiday People Against Dirty” kit, which people can purchase for $19.99 by clicking through to Method’s site.

The display ad campaign CPB launched to promote the site consists of leader board, medium rectangle, and skyscraper units. The buy covers NYTimes.com, Onion.com, Epicurious.com and Style.com. The agency also bought Salon’s “Ultramercial” Day Pass sponsorship. Spending was not disclosed.

While “Subservient Chicken” was almost entirely free of Burger King branding, CPB aggressively injected Method’s product into “Come Clean.” While visitors interact with the site, taglines at the foot of the screen offer stats on previous confessions. One said, “31 percent of all confessions involved bathroom hygiene. Remember to wash your hands with Method after going to the potty.” Another warns, “Method handwash is a non-toxic cleaning product that is gentle on your skin. It cannot wash your hands of killing someone.”

“It’s so interactive that you have to participate with it to get something out of it,” said Benjamin. “But when you do participate, you get something magical. The brand experience is customized to you. You have a different experience depending on what you confess.”

The site was in testing last week, and launched officially this week.

Crispin, Porter and Bogusky hit a nerve with the “call-and-response” variety of microsite, deployed twice for its own clients, now copied by other brands like Beer.com on its recent “Virtual Bartender” site. In these applications, users go beyond clicking around for static information to actually play a role in generating content. Benjamin said the viral success of “Subservient Chicken,” which garnered up to 8 million daily visitors in the weeks following its launch, has gotten the agency’s other clients more interested in interactive’s potential.

“It gets them excited about the Internet,” he said. “It definitely got other clients of ours interested in doing interactive work.” He declined to speculate on whether the Burger King site generated new business for CPB.

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