"Like many others, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and our ad agency
was moved by Ted Williams' story," Kraft spokeswoman Lynne Galia
said in an email. "His amazing voice is perfectly suited to our
campaign. We were in the middle of making our TV spots and in a
unique position to help Ted use his great voice to gain
Mr. Williams foreshadowed his new gig during an appearance today
on the "Today" show, saying he was on his way to record the ad
right after the live interview.
Asked how he would make the pitch, he said, "When you're looking
for a cheesy product, a very delicious macaroni and cheese, choose
The ad, by Mac & Cheese roster agency Crispin, Porter &
Bogusky, will debut on ESPN Sunday night during the telecast of the
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.
Mr. Williams, a Brooklyn native who once had a career in radio,
has reportedly gotten a slew of interest, including from MTV, ESPN
and the National Football League. He told a Cleveland TV station
that he plans to take a job with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
"That lady offered me a full-time job with the Cavs and then
something about the mortgage of a home? I'm going with that! Out of
all the offers that I've had, and I've had quite a few, I'll be
working in Cleveland, Ohio," Mr. Williams told the station, Fox
A Columbus Dispatch videographer discovered Williams on a
highway exit ramp last month and shot a video of him showcasing his
"God-given gift of voice," the paper reported. The clip was
uploaded to the paper's website Monday and then posted on YouTube,
where, as of this morning, it had more than 11 million views.
Mr. Williams' most recent job was doing voiceovers for a
Columbus FM radio station and was laid off in 1997 when the station
was acquired by another station, the Dispatch reported. But his
life had started to spin out of control years earlier. He served
three months in prison for theft in 1990 and another two months in
2004 on charges including theft and forgery, the Dispatch
Mr. Williams told "Today" that he lost his home in 1993 when he
was doing cocaine and "drinking like a fifth a day."
"My life just went to the pits," said Mr. Williams, who added he
is now sober.
Despite his checkered past -- and even if he were to get in
trouble again -- Kraft faces little risk in using him because
everybody loves a redemption story, said Carol Phillips, a branding
expert and president of Brand Amplitude.
"It's like practically free publicity," she said. "It's showing
that they are in the pop culture and responding. I think there's a
lot more upside than downside."