Silly ideas are on a curve. Most can be ignored, but some go so far out there into the realm of the ridiculous, you kinda have to at least pay attention. And thus we get this story about Oscar Mayer’s pork-based cryptocurrency, Bacoin.
Basically, Bacoin is an attempt at a viral marketing campaign from Oscar Mayer, and like Bitcoin, how it all works is kinda murky. If you get a Bacoin, it will go up in value the more people talk about it on social media, and you can “cash out” your Bacoin for real world bacon. One Bacoin is currently worth 3 slices of bacon.
Supposedly a “limited amount” of Bacoin was generated and given out starting today. I registered my name and email address and was told “No luck on the yield today, try again tomorrow.” (Ed. note: ha, ha. Sucker.) I was told that I could boost the value of Bacoin by Tweeting about it or emailing three of my friends (Spoon staff writers should check their inbox). Though why I would boost the value of someone else’s Bacoin, I’m not sure.
Look. This is all dumb. I’m dumber for writing about it. But, if this works, there is a precedent here. You can draw a straight line to Bacoin from Burger King’s Subservient Chicken (what is with viral ads for meat?). Cast your memory back to April of 2004, when you could go online and “boss” a guy in a chicken suit around, or at least start a pre-recorded video of a guy in a chicken suit performing hundreds of commands. It (briefly) captivated a nation.
Will Bacoin reach the same viral heights as Subservient Chicken? Probably not. In 2004 people were mystified by the Chicken that would dance for you. Audiences are much more digitally savvy now, and have tons of other ways to distract themselves. Plus, consumers are more conscious about where their meat products come from nowadays, and boosting something non-artisanal probably isn’t that interesting.
But, as long as there are digital trends, there will be ad executives looking to have their brands cash in on them. Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.