"You want lasagna for dinner?/Ricotta's a winner/I'm thinking' bout a little pasta with some sauce in the center."
Speed rapper Mac Lethal busts out those lines and a whole lot more in this hidden-camera stunt from ad agency SuperHeroes touting the extended battery life of Asus' Zenfone Max Android handset. (It lasts 38 days on a single charge, they claim!)
Here's the set-up: Mac's in a supermarket picking out items for dinner and chatting away on his cell, which, he loudly announced to everyone around him, is just about to run out of power. As a speed rapper, he naturally starts rhyming rapid-fire, and at very high volume, rushing to finish the conversation before the phone goes dead.
"He wrote the rap in collaboration with our creative team," Rob Zuurbier, partner and managing director of SuperHeroes New York, tells AdFreak. "We were actually changing the script up until the moment he performed, so he had to do some power memorization right before we shot."
Filming in a supermarket in Rotterdam (SuperHeroes is based in Holland), Mac and the Fat Fred production crew, led by director Teddy Cherim, worked hard to get things just right.
"Doing a shoot like this, there's a lot of pressure on one person to perform," Zuurbier says. "But even more than that was the challenge to make sure there were people nearby to overhear him. There were more than a few times where Mac nailed it, but the footage didn't work because the people were just too focused in their own world of talking on the phone, or squeezing avocados."
Frankly, by the time he gets to "What about a salad, you want a salad?/Caesar, Iceberg, Romaine/I can make the whole thing," most of the customers were probably wishing the battery would just die already so they could shop in peace.
Regardless, the approach really resonates online, and the minute-long clip is closing in on 15 million views across all platforms in just over a week. "We've seen countless comments where people point out they hate advertising, but have destroyed their repeat button watching this film," Zuurbier says.
Moving somewhat more slowly in terms of views is this similarly caffeinated clip set in a neighborhood cafe:
"Every brand and kid with a YouTube account are doing pranks—it can make it harder to strike gold," says Zuurbier. "We see this [Asus video] as less of a prank and more of a real-life demonstration that uses real people instead of actors."
As for Mac, if the supermarket and coffee runs don't work out, he can always order a quick pizza (hope it arrives on time):
Mac maintains his momentum for the making-of clip:
Concept: SuperHeroes New York
Executive creative director: Rogier Vijverberg
Art directors: Ola Syse, Arthur Manduapessy
Copy writers: Elliot Stewart-Franzen, Dimitri Hekimian
Graphic designers: Krister Lima, Sofie Nilsson
Client services: Django Weisz Blanchetta, Rob Zuurbier
Agency producer: Severien Jansen
Director: Teddy Cherim
D.O.P: Boas van Milligen Bielke
Behind the scenes D.O.P: Ralph Sarmo
Production Company: Fat Fred
Editors: Madja Amin, Martin Aggerholm
Music composer: Ricky Cherim
Grading: Erik Verhulst
Sound design: Wave studios
Responsible at ASUS: Archit Mardia, Erik Hermanson