The scrawny, freezer-burned Imposters, actually animatronic devices, spend their time trying to pass themselves off as fresh Foster Farms chickens. Over the years, they've shown up in a number of memorable spots: driving a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere into a tree, diving into a swimming pool filled with grease to marinate and munching on junk food. In 1998 Foster Farms put the popular birds in a trailer and debuted a road show at the Super Bowl in San Diego. At times, the fowl showed up at the California state capital for lobbying purposes.
But last year, amid management changes at the family-owned, Livingston, Calif., company, the chickens were killed off. After an agency search, Young & Rubicam, San Francisco, was hired, according to company statements at the time, to better express the company's position that its chickens have no hormones or steroids. The resulting campaign, which featured TV spots that focused on a large dinner plate, carried the tagline "We foster honest to goodness."
However, as Foster Farms -- one of the largest chicken producers in the West -- expands distribution and faces increased competition from lower-priced poultry products, the Imposters are back as the face of the company. "I'm looking forward to seeing what the Imposters will do next!" Greta Janz, a Foster Farms spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Foster Farms spent $11 million in measured media in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.