A television channel that consists of nothing but a rotisserie chicken rotating on a spit will debut Monday on Rogers digital cable across Ontario, and for at least three months, Swiss Chalet hopes to create an appetite for channel surfers.
The cost of buying an ambient channel for 24/7 promotional purposes was "expensive," Rogers spokesperson Kathy Murphy told The Globe and Mail, although the amused social media reaction would suggest it was a relative bargain for the restaurant chain.
Besides, it was only a matter of time before somebody figured out how to monetize these single-shot offerings, even if the idea dates back to 1963, when artist Andy Warhol made a film of his boyfriend sleeping for more than five hours, which was followed by an eight-hour silent gaze at the Empire State Building.
Crackling fireplace stations seemed to peak in popularity during this past holiday season, yet Shaw Cable customers in western Canada revolted last December when the company announced it would start charging an extra 99 cents for two hours of uninterrupted access to its Yule Log.
Mood on Demand, a Toronto-based venture, has attempted to offer high-definition puppies, tropical fish or Canadian artwork through television screens for a dollar per day, although it would appear that viewers aren't inclined to order these channels in advance.
Rogers boasted in its company-owned Marketing magazine that its year-round Aquarium Channel drew 166,950 viewers in January, who tuned in for an average 11 minutes, presumably because they felt nothing else as interesting was on. But the neighbouring Sunset Channel was offered as an alternative, alongside the Fireplace Channel, whose kindling will be poked for the last time this season on Sunday.
Swiss Chalet is apparently hoping to catch viewers in a similarly restless state of mind. The image of of the glistening chickens on their sides will likely play down the fact the birds once had heads and legs, though.
The restaurant should have better luck with this venture than some of its recent 30-second spots: a commercial featuring a divorced dad bonding with his long-estranged daughter over a Festive Special by smearing some cranberry sauce on his nose in tribute to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was criticized online for its over-the-top ickiness.