Brian Baumgartner seems to thrive in cold days and cold opens. The actor, who is best known for playing Kevin Malone on the American version of The Office, this week shared his recipe for a warm bowl of chili—but this time the ingredients focused less on undercooked onions and more on Bush’s chili beans.
The partnership between Bush’s Beans and Baumgartner celebrated Thursday being National Chili Day, one of the many made-up holidays we celebrate solely because they start trending on social media. And while some brand partnerships honoring manufactured days feel like a tired act, this one hits the spot.
Kevin might be known for his terrible accounting skills or inventing Kleenex shoes, but he’s borderline idolized to this day for his “famous chili.” During the cold open of Season 5’s “Casual Friday,” Kevin does a voiceover explaining the cooking process while unsuccessfully bringing a pot into the office. Just before boasting about staying up all night pressing garlic, he spills the chili on the carpet. No amount of Dunder Mifflin paper can salvage the mess.
Baumgartner has played off the notoriety of this scene before—partnering with Represent in 2017 and again in 2020 to sell T-shirts, aprons and mugs for charity donations—so this pairing likely feels as natural to the actor as toasting his own Ancho chilies.
The Bush’s Beans ad lets Baumgartner be himself but drops in a lot of “Kevin” moments for Office-loving fans. There are plenty of clumsy spills and a double-take to the can to ensure the correct spelling of “Best.” And of course it wouldn’t be a tribute without the pot taking a giant tumble at the end of the spot.
Fans of baked beans and slow-talking accountants can get Baumgartner’s chili recipe on Bush’s website where the company continues to lean into the clumsy charm of the Malone tradition. But it’s the flashback to perfectly destroying a pristine pot of chili that may make viewers want to head to the grocery store.
The spot already has nearly 2 million views on Baumgartner’s Twitter account (the original “famous chili” clip from The Office, for comparison, only has 1.6 million views on YouTube.)
The ad might not have had the beautiful florescent office lighting of the original, but Bush’s Beans and Kevin’s chili melted together organically for National Chili Day. Your move, Kleenex; Baumgartner’s feet are waiting.
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