How well does classic hip-hop age ... cheese?
Cheez-It and Pandora might just answer that question with their co-branded "Aged by Audio" crackers. They cranked up selections from various artists to help "age" the cheddar used in these limited-edition snacks. We're talking about tunes from A Tribe Called Quest, LL Cool J, Arrested Development, the Roots, Beastie Boys, Drake, Queen Latifah, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Saweetie and more.
It's all based on science, probably, with Cheez-It citing 2019 research from Bern University of the Arts that suggests aging cheese to rap music enhances its smell and taste. (Bern's in Switzerland. So that's a Swiss cheese study. Heh.)
Agencies Leo Burnett and Digitas helped develop the campaign to remind folks that Cheez-It uses 100 percent real cheese in its products, while helping boost Pandora's flagging fortunes in the music streaming wars.
Here's a cute project video with a wheel of cheese wearing headphones:
"Cheez-It worked with Pandora to create custom speaker boxes, exclusively built for the experiment, where the cheese was securely aged for six and a half months using the unique vibrations of hip-hop music," says Cheez-It senior brand marketing manager Erin Storm. "The music and sonic experts at Pandora found hip-hop songs with similar attributes to those from the study and curated a custom hip-hop mix designed to have an effect on flavor intensity."
A free mixtape drops May 26, available on CheezItHQ.com, Pandora and via QR codes on the limited-edition cracker boxes. For now, the brands are keeping mum on track selection.
Now, the songs they chose don't necessarily mention cheese. But several of the artists have done so through the years. There's an early Eminem song called "Crackers 'N Cheese," and foodie Drake namechecks fromage quite a lot in his oeuvre. Snoop's "Life of Da Party" includes the exuberant line "Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese!" (Clearly on point, even though he's taking about photography.)
As part of the push, Cheez-It will back SiriusXM host Sway Calloway's new YouTube series "Living Legendz," featuring interviews with rap icons. There's a free 90-day Pandora Premium trial timed to "Audio Cracker" purchases, too, plus T-shirts, headphones, bucket hats and assorted cheesy swag.
If the concept sounds familiar, that's because similar themes have reverberated through brand campaigns for several years, with wine, beer and, yes, cheese getting the sonic treatment.
Kellogg's North America
Sr. Director, Marketing: Erin Storm
Brand Manager: Matt Scholtens
Director, Experience Planning: Diane Sayler
Leo Burnett (Lead Creative):
Executive Creative Director: Rick Hamann
SVP, Creative Director: Michael Shirley
ACD, Copywriter: Ryan Falch
ACD, Art Director: Fernando Palandi
EVP, Account Director: Chris Bergen
VP, Account Director: Charlie Volanakis
Sr. Account Executive: Jaime Gullas
VP Group Director, Executive Producer: Cassie Cooper
Associate Director, Business Affairs: Courtney Novotny
Senior Associate, Project Management: Kassie Cicchinelli
Daily Planet (Production/Post-Production)
Executive Producer: Scott Marvel
Director: Matthew Meschede
Line Producer: Amy Stewart
Production Coordinator: Martell Hall
PA: Mary Hess
DP: Paul Incapreo
1st AC: Michael Kubaszak
Audio Engineer: Alan Chow
Production Designer: Angela Finney
Editors: Matthew Hane, David Fourtney
GFX Designers: Tim Berthuime, Alyssa Barrett
Audio: Todd Miller
Evil Twin Music (Music)
Soundtrack Creation and Production: Andre Faria, Murilo Faria, Jimmy Gressler, Rafael Vieira
Executive Production and Account Service: Juliana Tangary, Karen Guerra