Tough guy Danny Trejo might be the only person on the planet who could convincingly (and charmingly) use a machete as a microphone while hosting an over-the-top game show and giving away “a shitload of donuts” from his famous Los Angeles shop.
Trejo, who’s proven to be a winking good sport for brands in the past, is at the center of a digital promotion around the long-running animated hit Family Guy’s 300th episode, airing Sunday on Fox, and Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game from Jam City.
In a wacky two-minute video filmed at Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts in Hollywood, the besuited actor-entrepreneur guides a couple of contestants through a Family Guy-themed match-three challenge, though it’s clear he has a favorite (it’s Melissa from San Francisco). He mostly taunts the other player, hapless Wisconsin resident Kyle, with his patented style of menace mixed with maniacal Autotuned laughter.
“We wanted it to feel like a fever dream,” said Mark Feldstein, principal at L.A. agency Stun, which produced the branded content for Jam City. “Something weird and cheesy.”
In a second video, dubbed “Undercover Owner,” Trejo wears a sassy blonde wig and hacks a customer’s order to bits with the aforementioned blade. That’s what you get for not ordering the right amount of OG donuts, dude.
Trejo, a recurring character and voiceover artist on Family Guy, also appears in animated form in the mobile game, with his food (and “anti-personnel armaments”) truck going head-to-head with Peter Griffin’s cocktail lounge on wheels.
Though the campaign aims to boost the TV show, now in its 16th season, Jam City CMO Josh Brooks said mobile games have become “the connective tissue” that keeps global fans engaged even when a series isn’t on the air. It also gives them a social connection that “acts as a catalyst” for the intellectual property as a whole.
“It used to be the show or the movie leading everything,” Brooks said, “and now that there’s so much time spent on mobile devices, the ecosystem is changing.”
Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, a free download that rolled out in the spring, now has updates to reflect the series’ 300th episode and its characters, including Trejo, who quickly latched onto his role as a smarmy game-show host and poorly disguised restauranteur for the content pieces.
“He completely gets the twisted humor,” Brooks said. “And he’s totally terrifying one minute and hysterically funny the next.”
Fans can check that out in real life by stopping by Trejo’s shop. The lucky ones might see the action star in person, but the first 300 with Another Freakin’ Mobile Game on their smartphones will get a limited-edition collectible.
It’s intended to be an event-filled season for Family Guy, which will air its first extended-length, limited-commercial episode in March, called “Send in Stewie, Please,” starring guest voice Ian McKellen.