Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Checkers Rapcat promotion - the cat's meow?

The fast food chain Checkers uses a blinged-out feline who wears a jersey and raps in its commercials.
According to Richard Turer, senior vice president of marketing for Checkers, the Rapcat commercials were an overnight success.
"We received dozens of letters from our guests requesting Rapcat merchandise.Our new Rapcat Web site, cups and carry out bags are all in response to Rapcat's popularity and are intended only as a creative extension of our television campaign."
So far, so good.

But with its latest promotion gag, Checkers might have taken it too far.
Checkers designed special burger bags that look like Rapcat’s jersey, complete with a 3-step process how to turn the bag into a “garment” for your own cat.
On the side of the paper bag, the instructions read as follows:

  1. Cut out the holes

  2. Put YOUR cat in the bag

  3. Submit the best pics/vids of your cat keepin' it real…

Checkers cat owning consumers were only too happy to oblige.
The video of a Persian cat being extremely uncomfortable in his bag jersey became a YouTube hit.
But not everybody was amused; especially not animal services such as Hillsborough Animal Control, stating that participants could be charged with felony animal cruelty.As a result, the topic was discussed by Fox and other networks, making Rapcat an international phenomenon.

What is the logic behind the promotion?
According to Checkers management the rap cat bag promo is not intended to hurt animals.
As Checkers spokeswoman Kim Francis puts it:
"Of course we care about the animals. It's an extension of the rap cat promotion. The intent of the bag … is to be an extension of the TV commercial.”
Needless to say, Checkers was smart enough to have a disclaimer on their hamburger bags, stating: "Not all cats will be down with wearing this bag. Do not harm or endanger any cat."

The main question is: how effective is a promotion like this?
According to Checkers, they received dozens of letters from customers requesting Rapcat merchandise.
It’s hard to tell if this specific promotion really increased sales – especially since it’s part of the whole Rapcat PR campaign.

One thing is for sure – Checkers became a household name in countries where they have no presence…….

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