Chase Zreet, a copywriter in Dallas, was dying to work on the Sprite account at Wieden+Kennedy New York. How could he stand out from the chorus of candidates fighting for the same gig?
Zreet turned his cover letter into a 3:13-minute hip-hop video where he proclaims his obsession with Sprite and brags about his copywriting skills. The ad features Zreet wearing a lemon and a lime on a gold chain, seemingly floating through the streets of Dallas while rapping. (He was on a hoverboard.)
Zreet grabbed the attention of W&K with copywriting insider lines like:
- “I got the best lines. Call me Narcos.”
- “I got Pencils, Cleos, Lions dangling off my chain.”
- “O.J. glove scripts. Tightest in the game.”
- “I’ll write fifteens and thirties and even sixties and hundreds. And Facebook, Twitter? Check. Done. I’ll write whatever you wantin’.”
- “The Don Juan Kong copy rhetoric king.”
The lyrics were written in a couple of days, but parts were added on the fly during time spent in the recording studio. Zreet got a friend to help direct the video.
The leadership at W+K were blown away. Zreet was hired.
The video earned Zreet some industry buzz, too. Tim Nudd at Adweek wrote, “We’ve seen writers and art directors pitch themselves to agencies in all sorts of creative ways over the years. But, dare we say, this might be our favorite yet.”
I really, really, really want to write for Sprite.
What they told Adweek:
“There’s too much emphasis put on portfolios, and not enough on the creative enthusiasm of the candidate,” Wieden+Kennedy New York Creative Director Jimm Lasser told Adweek. “Chase made a great ad about himself. He persuaded us to invest in him. He won us over.”
Lessons to be learned:
- Show. Don't tell. — Sixty-five percent of people are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. Zreet could have spent days carefully crafting a traditional cover letter, but instead, he made an impact by showing his passion. His video was impossible to forget.
- Don't ditch your legacy. — Sprite has a deep history of collaborating with hip-hop artists. Zreet plays with this legacy by both poking fun at rap video stereotypes and embracing the details. (For context, the typical Sprite drinker is under 24, according to InfoScout. Almost two-thirds of hip-hop listeners are ages 18-34, according to Radio & Television Business Report.)
Be different. Really different. — It’s a no-brainer that good marketing stands out, but this video is on another level. Have you ever seen a cheesy white guy with a Texas accent rapping about his copywriting skills? Neither had W+K leadership or others in the ad industry. Faris Yakob, co-founder of GENIUS/STEALS, tweeted, “This is the resume bar. Brilliant and the best song ever written about working in advertising.”