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How Coolio Became Your Favourite Rapper’s Favourite Wrapper



LBB’s Ben Conway speaks to the creative team at BBDO Minneapolis who got rap icon Coolio to teach a turkey and present wrapping masterclass for Hormel’s bacon-scented wrapping paper

How Coolio Became Your Favourite Rapper’s Favourite Wrapper

Last Christmas they gave us a mask (bacon-scented of course) but the very next day, it was bacon we craved. This year, to save us from tears, they’ve given us something even more special. 

That’s right, after the success of their bacon-scented mask last Christmas, Hormel Black Label Bacon and creative agency BBDO Minneapolis have created wrapping paper that not only looks like bacon, but smells like it too. Accompanying a giveaway of the wrapping paper that smells so good you’ll want to eat it, the creative agency created a Cooking Channel style spot that sees hip hop legend, and occasional chef, Coolio wrap a present with bacon paper and then a turkey with real Hormel bacon.

The Gangsta’s Paradise rapper provides his culinary skills, vocal flow and comedic abilities to the spot, which is sure to make you laugh and drool simultaneously. Taking LBB’s Ben Conway behind the scenes are the creatives behind the campaign at BBDO Minneapolis, creative director JT Steinert, design director Ian McAllister, associate creative director Matt Cermak, senior producer Peter McLarnan and senior strategist Sarah Beck. 

The team unwraps the project from start to finish, discusses it being their first in-person production since March 2020, writing an authentic-sounding script for a rapper and how they had to open a credit card for Coolio’s Gucci-only wardrobe. 

LBB> What was the original creative spark behind this campaign?

JT>  As supply chains and cargo ships stuck offshore have caused gift shortages, we wanted to give shoppers a way to ‘plus up’ whatever gifts they’re able to find on the shelves. And seeing how everything is better wrapped in bacon, the answer was obvious. 

LBB> Did Hormel already have a brief? Or did you approach them with the idea? 

SARAH>  Hormel is always bravely and boldly looking for great ideas, so it is more of an ongoing open brief. We approached them with the idea to help holiday shoppers turn any gift into the centre-cut of attention with Hormel Black Label Bacon printed and scented wrapping paper. 

LBB> How was the creative idea developed? From bacon wrapping paper to wrapping paper that smells like bacon, and then a rapper doing some wrapping. 

JT>  Knowing there are gift shortages, we wanted to help shoppers make any gift better through the power of Hormel Black Label Bacon. And one of Hormel Black Label Bacon’s greatest powers is its irresistible smell. Through a combination of its deliciously decorative looks and smell-iciously scrumptious scent, the goal was to create gifts that you wouldn’t want to unwrap. 

Through conversations about wrapping food with bacon and wrapping gifts with bacon, we talked a lot about wrapping. So, we figured, who is better at wrapping than a rapper?  

LBB> When and why did you get rap icon coolio on board for the campaign? 

JT> We had to find that unicorn rapper who could rap and wrap. Coolio is not only a Grammy Award-winner, but he’s also a seasoned chef. 

LBB> What were the logistics behind designing and producing the wrapping paper that not only looks like bacon, but smells like it too?

IAN>  Bacon being the revered food that it is, it was a painstaking effort to ensure every inch of every strip of bacon in the bacon weave pattern was sizzlingly scrumptious. It had to look like real Hormel Black Label Bacon. And part of that was finding the right paper. It was a delicate dance finding the perfect balance of weight, gloss, and scent-infusibility. 

Speaking of scent, we perfected bacon scent technology with the Breathable Bacon mask last year. This year it was finding how to infuse paper with the signature Hormel Black Label Bacon essence. That part is a secret.

LBB> How was the shoot?  

PETER>  This was BBDO Minneapolis’s first in-person production since March of 2020.

It felt incredible to be back on set and working with DriveThru and director Marcus Taplin was an absolute pleasure. They went above and beyond, creating a set fit for the titans that are Hormel and Coolio. DriveThru also ensured all SAG COVID protocols were followed to keep everyone safe, so we could all focus on the performance and production.

LBB> What were some memorable things about the shoot/production process? 

JT>  Coolio is a consummate professional who not only nailed his lines but kept the energy up for everyone the entire day. He randomly broke into freestyle, had more stories than a bookstore, and made some bling out of a pack of Hormel Black Label Bacon and other items he found on the set. He’s an entertainer through and through. 

PETER>  One fun bit about Coolio: he only wears Gucci. We had asked him to come camera ready to save time, and while his wardrobe options were beautiful, they didn’t necessarily fit the brand tone and colours of Hormel Black Label Bacon. This led to a last-second run to Nordstrom, a security flagged credit card, and the opening of a Nordstrom credit card.   Which reminds us... we need to pay that off. 

Oh, Coolio also called director Marcus Taplin at 11pm the night before and they shot a music video together. 

LBB> How did the idea for doing a ‘TV chef’-style video come about? How did you develop this idea and what techniques did you use to produce it?

Peter> There was something innately hilarious to us about a TV Chef-Style video where half of the content was about bacon-printed paper. Coupled with Coolio’s experience in teaching recipes, it was a perfect marriage of flavour.

JT>  Every technique used spawned from the fusion of a TV chef-style video, a holiday infomercial, hip hop, and Hormel Black Label Bacon style. This is where our partners really shined. HiFi dropped the killer track, DriveThru created the magic on set, our in-house production team, Flare, brought the heat with the edit, and Nice Shoes made it all look delicious with colour. Then Coolio even brought some propping and lighting ideas the day of the shoot.

LBB> How was the copywriting process? - How do you write for a rapper who is famous for his ‘flow’? Did coolio add his own flavour to the script? 

Matt> Writing for an artist as well-renowned as Coolio was a rare pleasure, and a challenge. To capture his tone, flow, and charisma, we poured over everything from his music, videos, liner notes, his Cooking with Coolio content series, to his self-penned cookbook. In the script, we synthesize references to his songs, wordplay involving bacon and the holidays, and a sprinkle of phrases from his personal lexicon. This created a piece that felt true to the Black Label Bacon brand, Coolio himself, and a holiday-inspired Cooking Channel genre-play. 

The biggest challenge was in capturing Coolio’s essence in a way that felt authentic and combining it with the Black Label Bacon brand. Part of Coolio’s charm is that he’s not afraid of saying something outrageous, which was part of his authentic brand that we had to carefully navigate and align to the tone of Black Label Bacon. We also worked with BBDO’s chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer, Jason Rosario, to ensure we struck the right tone. Layer on a holiday theme, a wrapping paper product launch, and a giveaway call-to-action, and you can imagine the effort required in developing a script. 

Fortunately, Coolio himself was part of the process, offering alt lines, ad-libs, and a charismatic performance that elevated every word of the script. He came prepared, bounced ideas, and gave the shoot a palpable energy throughout. 

LBB> What was the most difficult challenge you faced on this project - and how did you overcome it?

Matt>  There were a few. First, developing an innovative product amid global supply chain issues on a short timeline. Designing, printing, developing an authentic Black Label Bacon scent, all took a lot of effort from groups of talented people to pull off. 

Another challenge was one of those ‘good-to-have’ problems. Coolio’s performance left us with so much great material, that the editing process was almost bittersweet. We found ways to include as many of his best moments as we could, but also had to leave so much great content on the cutting room floor. 

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BBDO Minneapolis, Thu, 25 Nov 2021 16:32:00 GMT