Commentary

Nerd Rappers Drive Dentyne Brandertainment and Make You the Lothario

At this week's OMMA Ad Nets and OMMA Behavioral shows just about everyone was buzzing admiringly over last week's landmark Old Spice Twitter + Video campaign. And yet while Weiden + Kennedy was setting a new high bar for online video innovation there were still successes in the garden variety branded entertainment category. Hot on the heels of the popular Man on a Horse campaign was a nerdish rap from comedy duo Rhett & Link on behalf of Dentyne. The gum manufacturer is launching a new breath-cleansing product and they enlisted this North Carolina duo to wrap a rap around the concept. Poised to crack a million views on YouTube the modestly-clever Epic Rap Battle pits the duo in a rap duel to earn the phone number of a diner waitress.

Just about any satiric premise can grow old in about ten seconds. After all, "Saturday Night Live" has built a decades-old franchise on skit premises that are funnier than the actual product. So it is always good to see a modest core concept become funnier in the execution. Rhett & Link play lower-level sales and office cubicle dweebs vying to impress the waitress with their unimpressive resumes, talents and tastes. The product placement comes early in a four and a half minute video that could grow tedious and invite impatient users to bail. The waitress gives them a pack of the featured gum. Cue the signature rap thump and away we go, touring the limited imaginations of two wannabe lotharios.

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"I car pool, because I am environmentally sensitive. I pack a snorkel because I am so clever and inventititive."

"That's inventive. Inventitive isn't even a word."

"Yeah, I just inventited it. You just got served."

As we go deeper into the video the lines get more inane and the spot grows into a modest satire of middling imaginations. You stick with the extended piece just to see where the duo take the concept next and what empty brag misfires next.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the campaign is that viewers themselves have been calling the fictional waitress. At the end of the video we get a quick glimpse of server Tiffany's (hearted 'i' of course) home phone. According to the marketers involved, over 3,000 people have already called Tiffany's number. Rather than getting a scripted brand message, these marketers have been smart enough to keep the fiction going. We get Tiffany's answering machine where we get the impression the girl gets hit upon a lot. The mechanical beep dares you to step up with your own smooth move. Talk about recruiting the user into the brand. Now you are the cubicle-bound Romeo scrambling for some suburban middle-class bravado.

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