|Photo: Gilles Mingasson|
|On hand to greet Battle of the Brands attendees was Subservient Chicken herself. Ms. Chicken represented Burger King in the competition.
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Yesterday's live contest, done in the style of American Idol, was the newest addition to Advertising Age's annual Madison + Vine conference, held at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.
AICP and ANA
Four finalists were selected from branded content submitted by dozens of advertisers, said Matthew Miller, president-CEO of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. Along with the AICP, the Association of National Advertisers also produced the event.
Each of the four finalists presented a case for strategy, creativity, production ingenuity and business performance before four judges. Some 200 marketers and Hollywood executives in the audience used handheld computers to vote in each category. The grand-prize winner was selected based on a compilation of voting scores in the four categories.
Contestant Burger King's Subservient Chicken campaign for its TenderCrisp Chicken, from MDC Partners' Crispin Porter & Bogusky and production company Barbarian Group,
|Subservient Chicken generated 52 million hits during its first week online.
Most judges praised the concept, but one, Geoffrey Front, chief marketing officer for Motorola, noted the campaign's strength because people invited it into their lives. Another judge, John Costello, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for Home Depot, said the challenge was to keep the chicken "fresh."
Sega's Beta-7 integrated campaign from independent
|Beta-7, the hoax site promoting Sega produts.
Judges praised the project for its creation of a drama -- and as Mr. Frost put it, as a "multidimensional mind screwer" -- but Mr. Costello noted the campaign treaded a fine line between fiction and reality.
ESPN and Miller Lite
The third contestant tugged at the audience's heartstrings. Court Crandall, creative partner at independent
|ESPN's bit brought tears to the eyes of a judge.
Rainier Brewing Company
But the house was brought down by the tale of Rainier Brewing Co. WPP Group's Cole & Weber/Red Cell, Seattle,
|Rainier's 'R' logo is a symbol of the city of Seattle.
Creative included a TV show that garnered a 0.6 rating despite its showing at 1 a.m. Sunday. In a lucky coincidence, a bear in a local park selected Rainier to drink as it binged on campers' food, creating a big media boost for the brand, and was included in Rainier's marketing. In fact, Rainier's own version of the bear, an actor in a cheap bear suit, appeared on stage as did another Rainier character, Ranger Heartfelt. Judge Mr. Frost called the campaign's "cheesy, low-budget anti-establishment" production "great."
The Rainier campaign won in voting in three of the four categories, strategy, production ingenuity and business performance. Subservient Chicken won in the creativity vote.
The AICP's Mr. Miller said all of the finalists and the winner had campaigns based on original content, and not product placement or other methods of squeezing a marketer's brand into an already produced piece of content.