If you think recently reincarnated rapper Snoop Lion and iconic author Charles Dickens go together like Ebenezer Scrooge and Christmas, you’re right.
Fresh off a name change after a soul-altering trip to Jamaica, Snoop Lion is the centerpiece of a new marketing campaign by Adidas. He voices his animated counterpart, who is dubbed Ebenezer Snoop on account of the colossal amount of Christmas cantankerousness with which he’s afflicted.
Snoop is the star of an animated short that puts a twenty-first century spin on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The clip begins with the flesh-and-blood version of Snoop, clad in an Adidas tracksuit and Adidas sneakers, relaxing in a very Dickensian setting, puffing on a pipe in front of a roaring fire. He invites us to view a cautionary tale of regret and redemption, with some partying thrown in for good measure.
In the words of Snoop, Picture This:
Snoop’s cup was once filled with Gin and Juice and love, but it’s now dried up. He’s all out of libations—literally and figuratively. Snoop is just a shell of his former self; he’s grumpy, socially isolated, and very Grinch-esque. He’s so downtrodden that he’s donning a terry cloth robe and Adidas slides in the middle of a sunny Los Angeles day. But, then the Adidas-sponsored ghosts of Christmas past (Stan Smith), present (David Beckham), and future (Derrick Rose and Rita Oro) travel with him through time and help him see that without Snoop, the future is a “[Drop It Like It’s] hot mess.” The Snoop of days gone by was the Life of da Party, but since he’s retreated from the social scene to languish in his bedroom with drawn blinds and a sullen spirit, the future becomes bleak and younger generations go astray.
Snoop then sees he must put an end to his selfish ways. He shows up at a party with a few six-packs of O’Suds and new holiday spirits. He even delivers a brief inspirational speech in which he tells everyone, “Parties aren’t an excuse to get wild. They’re a celebration of friends gathering from near and far.”
He transforms from bah humbizzle to happy holidizzle.
At the conclusion of the video, Snoop then gets philosophical on us. He poses an ominous, suggestive question, “Maybe the Ebenezer is you.” Through a Facebook app entitled, “Are You an Ebenezer?” Snoop scrutinizes an individual’s Facebook profile, examining things such as wall posts and tagged photos, to find out if we unwittingly harbor an inner curmudgeon deep within our seasonal-scorning souls. If you prove to be an Ebenezer, Snoop gives you the chance to make things right and “Un-Scrooge yourself” by sending a message to one (or more) Facebook friends.
This campaign is all about Adidas, so after fessing up to our transgressions and rekindling our love for the holidays, we’re presented with a link to the Adidas holiday collection to “find some great gift ideas for your crew.”
Snoop’s turn in this animated short isn’t his first marketing-campaign appearance. According to the Adidas holiday video, the rapper’s animated past is filled with sick shindigs, but according to YouTube, the rapper’s real past is loaded with commercial roles and celebrity endorsements.
Ebenezer Snoop traveled back in time with the help of the ghost of Christmas past, so I decided to engage in some time traversing of my own and look back on Snoop’s most memorable ad appearances. Call it a Snoop-stimulated, Ebenezer-engendered, gangster-generated reminiscence.
Does Snoop’s smoothness and coolness translate to the small screen? Profanity-studded lyrics and mellifluous melodies aside, how does he stack up in the television-marketing world? I’m taking it all the way back to the 90s to gift you with the best (and worst) blast-from-the-past Snoop appearances.
Malt from the Commercial Vault
In 1994, Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg starred in an ad for malt-liquor brand St. Ides.
The best aspects of this commercial include (but are not limited to): Nate Dogg’s velvety voice, Snoop’s metamorphosis into (and his uncanny resemblance to) a dog, and Snoop’s doling out of 40s at an archetypal 90s party while clad in a winter-white fedora. Who knew Snoop could solidly play second fiddle to a now-notorious liquor brand?
The Odd Couple Brought to You by AOL
Leave it to those once-ubiquitous AOL discs to bring comedian Jerry Stiller and Snoop Dogg in the same room in 2003.
When Jerry Stiller knocks Snoop to a couple whose enthusiasm is so hyperbolic it makes the commercial parody-like, Snoop appears out of nowhere to defend himself. Snoop’s short albeit memorable appearance lasts just long enough for him to deliver his classic izzle speech.
Snoops Goes Country Club for Chrysler
Snoop channeled his inner prep for a Chrysler commercial that first aired in July 2005.
Snoop cruises the golf course with ex-Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, who appeared in Chrysler commercials back in the 1980s.
In attempt to appeal to longtime Chrysler buyers while simultaneously capturing the attention of a younger generation, the car company unites the once-prevalent Iacocca with the now-relevant Snoop.
Snoop spouts hip-hop colloquialisms and spews his trademark izzle lingo, and while Iacco admittedly has no clue what he’s saying, they both understand the power of pink polos, nice cars, and great deals.
(11 years later and Snoop’s still rocking a white fedora.)
Nuthin But a G Thang
Snoop endorsed Orbit gum in January 2006. After he tells prep school students what it’s like to be a gangster on Career Day, he’s banished to hell because of his filthy mouth. Enter, the cleaning power of Orbit.
Hell is apparently a retro living room outfitted with alabaster-colored vinyl couches and red pillows where elderly ladies with devil horns congregate and cackle creepily. Fortunately, after Snoop is condemned, the Orbit girl appears (with a goat, for some unexplainable reason). Snoop and his clean, sparkling mouth get transported to heaven, where he sits in a rhinestone-encrusted dog dish amongst the clouds. Behold, Orbit’s literal and metaphorical cleaning abilities.
Snoop Gets German
Apparently realism and logic aren’t necessities for Snoop’s commercial appearances, according to this spot for a German phone company he did in 2008.
Snoop allegedly tried to channel Roy Black, a German singer and actor from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, but the noteworthy things about this ad are his bad voice, bad hairpiece, and bad German accent. The whole ad is random and nonsensical, with girls climbing out of ovens and a piano appearing out of nowhere.
According to Ad Age, the German lyrics translate to this:
It’s nice to be in the world
that’s what the bee says to the porcupine
you and me, we sing together
it’s nice to be in the world.
It’s nice to be in Snoop’s world, where one can make bank by appearing in indecipherable commercials.
What begins as a grocery-store-display war between a Pepsi employee and his Coke counterpart ends with Snoop performing a fantastic little ditty on a stage constructed exclusively out of Pepsi Max cases.
In November 2010, all it took was a five-second Snoop rap coupled with an infectious beat to put that Coke Zero castle to shame.
Snoop’s smooth voice, stylish soda sipping, and intimidating saunter down the grocery store aisle make drinking an aspartame-filled Pepsi Max that much more enticing.
A Not-So-Subtle Pistachios Ad
Of the numerous commercials Snoop has appeared in over the years, the most relevant one might be his most recent: an ad for Wonderful Pistachios that debuted last month.
What’s more appropriate (or perhaps, more inappropriate) than a commercial that gives a nod to Snoop’s favorite hobby and fondness for cannabis in the guise of cracked pistachio consumption?
The unconcealed reference to medical marijuana didn’t sit well with broadcast censors, however. According to Ad Week, the ad is airing only on cable and online. Bold and buzz-generating, this ad was probably one Snoop enjoyed filming.
To the Futizzle
Although Snoop initially emerged as a rapper in the early 1990s, he’s made a second career out of endorsements. His career (and bank account) consists of hip-hop singles and a series of brief yet inexplicably intriguing appearances in television commercials. My Snoop-sparked time traveling included a brief visit to the 90s, a longer stint in the 2000s, and some time in recent years, and after watching the rapper’s most memorable spots, I realized that his appearances are strung together by three things: randomness, (presumably big) checks, and izzle speech. Snoop’s past is studded with humorous, strange, and ridiculous commercials, and if the most recent Pistachios ad and Ebenezer Snoop campaign are indicators of things to come, the future will also hold a wealth of marketing efforts featuring the man who once rapped about domesticity and drugs with Martha Stewart. From St. Ides imbiber to animated Adidas product pusher, Snoop’s commercial scope spans decades. Here’s to the futizzle.