This month, the great Thanksgiving turkey has bestowed the world with an abundance of celebrity brand campaigns, serving up a smorgasbord of familiar faces such as Queen Latifa, John Travolta, Kevin Costner, “Vanderpump Rules” stars and a bare-bottomed Matthew McConaughey. Ad Age is thankful for five in particular, including a smokeless Snoop, two memorable musical spots and a reunion that’s so fetch.
The top 5 celebrity brand collabs you need to know about right now
5. Snoop Dogg x Solo Stove
Agency: The Martin Agency
If this Top 5 list were a TV show, Snoop Dogg would be the star. The celebrity has been the face of countless memorable brand collaborations, and they just keep coming. But this time it isn’t the spot that made Snoop Dogg’s latest a top campaign.
The ad, in which Snoop Dogg enjoys a roasted marshmallow in front of a Solo Stove smokeless fire pit, is simple. What elevates it is the genius tease campaign that led up to it utilizing one of the celebrity’s defining brand traits: smoking weed. A social post from Snoop Dogg last week got the internet going wild when he announced that “after much consideration and conversation with my family, I’ve decided to give up smoke.”
Although discerning observers quickly identified the overly sincere post as a stunt, it nonetheless got social media followers and news outlets chattering. The Instagram post alone has more than 4.7 million likes.
4. Boyz II Men x Chili’s
A recent Chili’s campaign merged lots of the internet’s favorite things: a conspiracy, 1990s nostalgia and (maybe) jingles. Chili’s revived its iconic “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back” tune in a spot that played on a fan theory that R&B group Boyz II Men voiced the ’90s rendition of the jingle. (It was actually performed by singer-songwriter William “Willie” McCoy, who also went by Wolf Johnson.)
The ad finds the musical trio trying to simply enjoy a meal inside the restaurant chain without the incorrect association when the infectious melody becomes irresistible. Seemingly possessed by the spirit of the jingle, the restaurant transforms into a brightly lit music video as Boyz II Men performs a fully produced “Baby Back Ribs” number. The spot ends with a spooky tease that the looped jingle might forever haunt the musical group.
3. Robert De Niro, Asa Butterfield x Uber
It appears the presence of Robert De Niro in an ad requires pulling out all the cinematic stops. Evidence: A recent Uber campaign featuring the legendary actor stands out as a gorgeous and tender bit of storytelling about the relationship between De Niro and “Sex Education” actor Asa Butterfield.
In the spot, Butterfield’s awkward attempt at becoming De Niro’s friend slowly evolves into a beautiful bromance as the duo’s seemingly dissonant personalities become a charming series of jokes and jabs. The two try on clothes, practice magic tricks and discuss cats, among other activities. While the music does a bit of the heavy lifting (the spot is set to a romantic adagio from Khachaturian’s “Spartacus” ballet), we would like to see a feature-length version of Uber’s spot.
2. Keke Palmer x Google
For the fourth annual edition of Google’s “Black-Owned Friday” campaign, which highlights Black-owned businesses ahead of the holiday shopping season, the tech company partnered with actress and singer Keke Palmer for an energetic and toe-tapping music video. The campaign, which includes shoppable elements for Black business owners, mixes Palmer’s humor and performance talents in a hero spot in which she covers Crystal Waters’ ’90s hit “100% Pure Love.”
The beautifully filmed spot alternates between Palmer in the backseat of a car humorously describing Google’s capability to search for Black-owned businesses and the celebrity doing some spectacular choreography. The spot has fun juggling aesthetics, swapping from grainy textured scenes to image collages and employing a Spike Lee-esque freneticism. The overall effect is a highly rewatchable (and danceable) spot.
1. Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert and more Mean Girls castmembers x Walmart
Agency: Publicis Groupe agencies including Fallon, Publicis New York, the Community, Contender and Digitas.
The celebrity spot that everyone is talking about is Walmart’s “Mean Girls” reunion. It brings back “Mean Girls” actors Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert, plus favorites Daniel Franzese and Rajiv Surendra, for a Black Friday-themed glimpse into what the characters’ lives would look like two decades later. Although the internet seemed eager to complain about the actors who chose not to return, Walmart pulled off an impressive feat in not just revisiting a fan-favorite scene, but capturing a microcosm of the culture around the beloved film and, critically, not letting its branding get too distracting.