Burger King random Gloria: A chicken is choosing which towns get chicken fries.

Burger King Is Letting a Chicken Choose Where Its Friends Will Be Eaten, and That’s Kind of Screwed Up

Burger King Is Letting a Chicken Choose Where Its Friends Will Be Eaten, and That’s Kind of Screwed Up

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
March 20 2015 4:39 PM

Burger King Is Letting a Chicken Choose Where Its Friends Will Be Eaten, and That’s Kind of Screwed Up

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Poor Gloria.

Screebshot from Burger King

Meet Gloria the chicken. Gloria is 3 years old. Gloria is from California. Gloria has her own hashtag. Gloria has always “aspired to take the spotlight.” And now she’s getting it because Gloria is being carted around the country by Burger King as part of a marketing stunt in which she is repeatedly asked to decide whether the people of that town will be able to devour her feathered friends, in the form of chicken fries, for a limited time off the Burger King menu.

Yes, the latest fast-food stunt is letting the food itself make the tough choices. Burger King last sold its popular chicken fries in summer 2014 and, since then, executives have “agonized over the decision of whether or not to bring them back,” a release explains. So they decided not to decide, and to let a chicken “randomly” make the selections instead. (After all, you can’t blame the company for skipping your town if it was up to a chicken!)

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This week, Gloria made the first four stops on her nationwide tour. Four times, she was placed between two yellow feed bowls—one bearing the word yes, the other no—outside a local Burger King. And each time she was live-streamed so that you, Internet user, could watch where she would peck.

We can all agree this stunt is absurd. But it's also kind of messed up, right? At the very least, it's not exactly tactful. Burger King says the tour is traveling with a big batch of chicken fries so that restaurants Gloria chooses “yes” for can instantly have the item added to their menus. (If you’re keeping track: Gloria pecked “yes” in Atlanta and Colmar Manor, Maryland, and “no” in Bayonne, New Jersey, and Henderson, North Carolina. Orlando, Florida, is up next.) So basically, Burger King is sending a live chicken on tour with a bunch of dead chickens all because the company’s execs couldn’t make up their minds, or thought this would be cute, or something like that.

There is only one reasonable takeaway: Fast-food companies are really bad at doing cute. As you may recall from McDonald’s semi-disastrous “Pay With Lovin’ ” promotion in February, being asked to hug a companion in order to get a Big Mac was pretty awkward. But that’s nothing compared with sending your own species to the deep fryer. We feel for you, Gloria.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.