Peach
Hobby home page
liahome
Soundlounge
Electriclime gif
jw collective
Contemplative Reptile
Editions
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South Africa Edition

Your Shot: How McCann London and Snoop Remixed the Just Eat Ad Doggystyle

Behind the Work 3.4k Add to collection

The agency team tell LBB’s Alex Reeves what it was like to collaborate with the hip-hop legend to Snoopify the food delivery brand’s marketing - and how they actually made it happen

Your Shot: How McCann London and Snoop Remixed the Just Eat Ad Doggystyle
Getting global hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg to apply his unique styling to the marketing of a food delivery brand is the sort of idea people in agencies have in early stages of working on a brief, before swiftly consigning it to the pile marked “cool stuff we’ll never be able to get done”. But somehow, a team at McCann London had that idea for their client Just Eat and then actually made it happen. And it’s not just Snoop popping up at the end to deliver an end line. His fingerprints are all over this campaign. He’s taken the European food delivery brand’s marketing and done it ‘Doggystyle’. The remixed jingle is full of his uniquely laid-back West Coast rap stylings and the video shows Tha Doggfather in exactly the settings we’re used to seeing him in (with a few on-brand visual gags layered on top). 

Much like Just Eat’s convenient service, the ad is exactly what the world needs amid a global pandemic. LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with McCann London creative directors Alexei Berwitz and Rob Webster, managing partner Tommy Smith and executive producer Amos Usiskin to find out how they made this phenomenal moment a reality.


LBB> Where did the idea for doing the Just Eat jingle ‘Doggystyle’ begin?

Rob> From the brand point of view, when we launched ‘Did Somebody Say Just Eat?’ in May last year, there was always a desire to mess with that mnemonic. It was built into the original platform. The first year we’d establish this mnemonic that’s an earworm and gets in everyone’s head wherever they are. It becomes a sort of catchphrase and puts us top of mind. But once we’ve established that it’s an opportunity to mess with that, do different versions of it, maybe seasonal versions like a Christmas jingle - what would happen if we remade it? So the brief for the second year was what we can play with now we have a property that’s established in culture. How do people feel about it? What’s the vibe out there? What can we lean into and play with to do something that feels like Just Eat, references what we’ve done before, but pushes it on and supercharges it? 

The brief was to work with what we’ve got and make it more culturally relevant. Then the guys came up with this wonderful script. It was who we could get who’s a global star and culturally relevant everywhere. Initially, Drake was the sort of holding celeb. And as we thought about it a bit more, the team suggested some alternatives. Snoop Dogg was floated. Then they did some quick research.

Tommy> Yeah, it turns out that Snoop was quite a scientific selection. Our core audience looking through Europe and the UK is a bit older, people in their 40s and a bit more regional - not super urban. It’s national rather than capital cities. Snoop has this amazing fan base that stretches from 15-year-olds to 50- or 60-year-olds. He’s super relevant whether on TikTok or posting on Facebook walls. There aren’t many people that spread all channels, all ages and all countries [the campaign needed to run in the UK, Ireland, Australia, France, Denmark, Spain and Italy]. Scientifically, he outperformed everyone. He was the right choice. 

Also, what we wanted for this piece of work was to have someone that can kind of caricature themselves because that’s what we’re doing. We want to acknowledge that what we created in year one required a bit of an evolution and a remix. So Snoop saying he’s going to go and do this Doggystyle and take it on a mission wouldn’t have worked with a lot of other people. You want someone with a wry smile. So he was the perfect fit.

The next mission was how on earth we can get him. He’s super commercial. If you look at the catalogue of work he does it’s normally a voiceover or in the end scene of an ad doing a call to action. Actually getting him to commit to the entire track and create a music video for it was a big ask. But it turned out alright!


LBB> So how did you manage to talk him into it!?

Tommy> It was quite tricky. But he was excited by the idea. We made sure he knew he’d have some creative control in the lyric writing, so he was a part of the process. In terms of what we were asking from him, we went to him with a foundation of the music and it was three or four days work in total, and we went to him - literally to his doorstep.

The first thing he said in one of the pre-production was: “We’re making five motherfucking movies in one commercial. I can’t wait to do it.” It wasn’t just a voiceover. It was creative and musical, in his genre and his world. Before we picked up the phone he’d never heard of Just Eat. It’s not an American brand. But he was really responsive and positive.

Also smart things like Amos and the production team using a director [Francois Rousselet] that he was familiar with and a production company [Riff Raff] he’d worked with before, using lawyers he was used to, going to his doorstep. We were just trying to make it as easy for him to say yes as possible.


LBB> How did you go about writing the song? Obviously you wanted it to feel like a Snoop Dogg track but it’s also got to work as an ad!

Alexei> When you go to someone like Snoop he’s a busy guy - a really big property. We didn’t want to go to him and ask him to write the lyrics because he doesn’t understand the brand or the brief and that would have been requiring too much from him. So we wanted to get a structure that we liked. We were working with String & Tins, we involved a number of writers to sketch out a structure. The creative team, Will and James, were involved in writing too. Once we were happy with that we went to Snoop with the package.

That was one key moment in the process. We still hadn’t got him completely signed on the dotted line. He had agreed in principle to do the job. We’d sent him the lyrics. As part of the deal he was encouraged to play with the lyrics and produce the music. In other words, move our jingle on. His team said: “He’s going to do some work to it. You’ll get it tomorrow. There won’t be much collaboration. Once he’s sprinkled his magic on it, that’s what you’ve got for your money.” That was pretty nail-biting. He could have completely changed the lyrics. Obviously we’d been through a whole process with the client to make sure they were ticking a lot of boxes, moving the jingle on but getting a bit of messaging in there too. So there was one particularly sleepless night when we didn’t know what we were going to get and it could have all fallen to shit! 

Fortunately, it came through the following day and he had moved it on, but he’d improved it immeasurably. The music was brilliant. We played it to the client and they loved it. So it was a massive sigh of relief.

Tommy> The lyrical brief was quite rational and hardworking. It was: “Can you please tell our consumers that we deliver all types of foods for all types of occasions?” So that ad is crammed with scenarios and foods. So we went to Snoop for a food-for-all-moods story, gave him a list of things we’d love to feature. He threw some things out and added some things in. So it was a truly collaborative process. 


LBB> If you listen to the track, it actually sounds like a Snoop Dogg song, from the flow of the lyrics to the production style. So I think it paid off to let him have so much creative control.

Alexei> Right! We were writing with him in mind. We’d decided that he was who we wanted from quite an early stage. So we approached him with an open view that he could make adjustments. He got his whole production team involved, they worked in his studio building the track and giving it that West Coast hip-hop feel that moved it on so much from where it was last year, which was a more modern R&B feel.

Amos> Snoop has such a recognisable style that when we were writing we were able to channel him a bit. Here’s this guy that’s been recording for nearly 30 years. Anyone who’s a fan of the genre knows his style. He’s been really consistent with it. There’s not another rapper around that you could have done that with, that has that distinct style that’s recognisable to people of all ages. When you look at the response, people are saying “oh my god! Snoop Dogg has made this track!” because it feels like it’s his.



LBB> You mentioned that part of the reason you chose Francois Rousselet to direct the video was that he’d worked with Snoop before. How did that affect the production?

Alexei> Yeah. He did a promo for him a while back. I think that experience was invaluable because he was quite realistic about how much time we’d get with Snoop. Also he was quite clear in terms of the wardrobe and styling. Snoop has very much got his own mind. He’s obviously quite a gregarious character. He loves wearing way-out clothes and his style’s really dialled up. But he’s got a real strong point of view on what he likes and doesn’t like. So Francois had a good bit of knowledge there and designed the process around giving him options and making sure he felt he had ownership of the whole production in terms of the look. It made him more at ease and brought him along on the journey. It meant he didn’t turn up on the day and say: “I’m not getting in that!”


LBB> There must have been a lot of pressure on getting the actual shoot right with so many moving parts and a super famous star at the centre. How did you make sure that went off OK?

Amos> The thing with someone like Snoop is he’s worked in the world for a really long time and he has a team around him. So what became really clear is that while he was really engaged and excited by the project, he had no interest in being on set for a really long time, waiting around for stuff to happen. So to overcome that challenge, we ran six sets side by side with three crews on top of each other. When we were done on one set-up we moved directly to the next one, Snoop would walk through wardrobe and the next set would be lit and ready. No one’s swinging a lens or taking another shot. You just have to get it. 

We shot at the Disney studio in Burbank and at the Snoop compound in Inglewood. Part of the joy of working in LA is that you know you’re working with production talent that are absolutely world leading. It was that that enabled us to capture that number of set-ups in a really short space of time. I can’t imagine we’d have been able to work in that way anywhere else in the world. No disrespect to crews in the UK or Poland or anywhere else, but there was an acceptance in LA that this is how you work with these people. 


LBB> You’re not going to forget the time you shot a music video with Snoop Dogg in a hurry! Are there any memories from the shoot that you consider safe to share publicly?

Tommy> I’ve got a very PG-rated story. We walked in to sell in the storyboards with him and were expecting him to throw scenes out that we’d spent however many thousands of hours creating. The hook for him to get excited, relax and say yes to the project was him basically seeing some low-grade scamp that we’d mocked together of him wearing a Just Eat branded colour-ray onesie. He basically demanded that his stylist, who was in the room, made that for him (at the cost of circa seven grand or whatever it was) within 48 hours so it could feature in the ad. It was like: “You’ve got to make me this, now.” And from that point on everyone relaxed and realised we were good here. He makes demands and everyone nods along and signs it off instantly. This is the world we were operating in.


LBB> As we’ve discussed, there are so many details and scenes crammed into the film. Do you have any favourite moments in the final cut?

Rob> One of the reasons we chose Francois is that he’s such an experienced music video director. He makes fantastic commercials as well. But he gets that world of the high end rap video to perfection. So once you’ve laid down that authentic world that the commercial exists in, to make it feel like a legit Snoop music video, then you can layer in those moments that belong in that world but mess with it a bit. One that stands out is the skydiving Just Eat courier banging on the window of the plane. It’s taking the hip-hop music video trope of private jets and messing with it a little bit. So it still feels credible, but there’s a joke there that’s still played a bit straight.

Alexei> Francois is a master of music promo direction and a lot of those films are almost the sum of the parts, rather than any one key scene. In a lot of narrative-based TVCs there’s always one scene which is the big one. Whereas for me the best thing about this was how much it jumped around. You’ve got the chateau scene like the Last Supper - beautiful, opulent, but not much movement - then going straight through a fish-eye lens of Snoop going right up to the camera wearing a Snooped-up Just Eat outfit, then straight to a black-and-white shot of him just rapping. I think jumping around like that is the thing that keeps you constantly surprised. It’s entertaining the eye throughout.

Tommy> Getting the opening in where he says: “I’m sick of this! Get those Just Eat fools on the line.” To get that through the client, for them to buy into someone dissing something they’d spent tens of millions of investment the year prior on, to acknowledge that and admit it’s time for a revolution on that… we’ve got a big, bold, brave client. They could see that value and it was the perfect opening to the story.

Alexei> To that point, it was what underpinned the whole idea from the start. Last year we’d established this earworm. But it played a lot. And people embraced it. But it starts to grate after a while if you’re hearing the same sort of thing. Part of the idea that we were so happy they bought into was us just acknowledging that their jingle had become a bit divisive. That was the kernel of the creative idea. Snoop has seen the ad and he’s sick of it. That was an insight that people can relate to. And the fact that we’ve faced that head on feels genuinely funny.



LBB> Obviously you didn’t know that the pandemic was going to hit when you were making the ad, but it must have affected a lot of decisions around it. How did that play in?

Alexei> We were lucky to get this thing wrapped up when we did. We were in LA in mid March. Just when things were really starting to kick off, but before there was that universal sense of the scale of the crisis. We were told we were the last production in LA. Most productions had been shut down or cancelled, but because we were three days into a four-day shoot they let us finish the last day. Then President Trump executed a travel ban to Europe that included the UK, which was starting on Monday night. We were flying back to London on Monday afternoon. So we just managed to get out of there in time! We feel really lucky that we got it in the can.

Then everything escalated. There was the big question of whether releasing this ad, which is a bit of lighthearted fun, is appropriate. We needed to judge the mood of all the markets it’s going out in. We were planned to release at Easter, which was right at the peak of the pandemic in the UK. So we held off and there was a waiting game. When will be the right time?

Eventually it started to dawn on us that as we went over the peak, people started feeling like it was time to smile again. People were bored of being stuck indoors, seeing the same kind of user-generated, serious messaging. Now just felt like the right time to bring a bit of fun back to the narrative.

Rob> It helped that Just Eat have been quite a responsible player in the coronavirus crisis. The brand has given 25% off meals for NHS workers and was doing a lot to support its couriers throughout that time, it made it a lot easier to keep doing some of that activity in the background, but also layer on an extra level of joy and celebration, because as a brand they’re trying to do the right thing.

Alexei> It was amazing to see the huge U-turn that the brand perception has gone through in such a short space of time. Only a couple of months ago Just Eat and Deliveroo and Uber Eats were seen as something everyone enjoys, but you could argue they’re contributing to a slightly unhealthy lifestyle. So there were issues there in terms of public perception. Then within a few weeks that’s flipped on its head and we’re now providing a vital service. 

Just Eat have become an important part of society. When we’re in the grip of the crisis it feels like a bit of normality. It's one thing that makes life feel normal again. Having a cheeky curry on a Friday night has really brought a smile to people.
view more - Behind the Work
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.

Genres: Visual VFX, People

Categories: Retail and Restaurants , Food delivery platform

McCann London, Wed, 13 May 2020 16:50:04 GMT