Media > Culture & Context

SEXUAL CHOCOLATE: BENEATH THE WRAPPER

THAT LOT CREATIVES, London / AMAZON PRIME VIDEO / 2022

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Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for Media?

To launch the movie Coming 2 America, we looked at the much loved original and decided to make a multi-platform spin-off accessible to social savvy consumers as well as streamers. This took the form of a hyper-real mockumentary featuring music icons, Gen Z influencers and fictional contributors, centred on a cult Eddie Murphy character who was in the first movie for just 86 seconds. It took a seminal moment of 80s entertainment, echoed its comedic style, expanded it with a contemporary and culturally-specific twist, and gave it a home on social channels and digital.

Background

Prime Video UK wanted to make noise on social media for the upcoming release of Coming 2 America, the sequel to Coming To America, exclusively on their platform. Alongside a series of international activations to promote the movie, Prime Video wanted an irreverent social campaign which would really cut through, while staying true to the culture of the film, with its all-Black cast and joyous comedy. The challenge was not only to ignite nostalgia and excitement for fans of the original film but also to pull in new audiences, in particular Gen Z (a strong focus for Prime Video).

Describe the creative idea / insights

Tapping into the comedy of the movie, we decided to make our own little movie: a mockumentary based on Eddie Murphy character Randy Watson, who was on screen for a total of 86 seconds in the first movie, but lived far beyond that through merch, memes, love and mic drops (yes, he did it first).

We wanted to treat Randy as if he were a true musical legend who had inspired some of the greats. Led by our team of comedy writers and directors, we would script a loose story arc with a Search For Sugar Man-style hook as if Randy had disappeared for almost 30 years, allowing us to work with footage from the first movie but tease his comeback in Coming 2 America. All we then needed was to get our music legends on board and hope we could help them improvise some comedy gold.

Describe the strategy

Knowing our goal was to stir up nostalgic interest in the generation who love Coming To America as well as engage a new, younger demographic, we approached music influencers who were huge in the 80s and 90s - Niles Rodgers, Shaggy, Kelis - as well as Gen Z friendly newcomers like Davido and Stefflon Don.

For platform specificity, we created a long-form 17 minute film for YouTube (which was then taken up by an impressed Prime Video for their SVOD platform), alongside shorter 2-3 minute cutdowns for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all supported by short teaser assets. These included bespoke whitelisted cutdowns for each influencer for their own channels, featuring their best one-liners, so we could target their specific audiences.

All these drove towards the longer-form video as well as raising awareness of Coming 2 America itself.

Describe the execution

We worked with our influencers, guiding them through improvisation around our script, heightening their natural personas e.g with gold disc legend Nile Rodgers, we played with the idea he felt creatively threatened by Randy, while trio En Vogue languished in a bitter love triangle. With younger musicians, we toyed with the generational disconnect, with Stefflon deadpanning “I wasn’t born yet, but I was distraught”,

We put in place a safety net with fictional characters played by award winning comedians: a tribute act and obsessive fan.

We had to improvise ourselves. Following each record, while editors furiously cut footage, our director [a professional comic herself] adapted future scripts and story lines to build an arc.

Within just three weeks and despite a rapid upgrade from social execution to TV show, Sexual Chocolate: Beneath the Wrapper and its supporting assets was ready in time for release week.

List the results

Filming garnered unexpected wins: performers provided earnest extra content about Coming to America - Kelis, on its representation of her community, and Davido, on seeing rich Africans, not famine-stricken ones, on screen.

Shaggy became so enthused, with no contractual obligation, he asked to post our film on his YouTube feed [1.65 million subs].

Prime Video elevating our social idea to their streaming platform, together with the German version, further boosted our reach.

We grabbed headlines in Advanced Television, MSN, Film News, Female First, Contact Music, Fan Carpet, Daily Entertainment News and The List.

Eddie Murphy, without being asked, then posted the teaser to his 12.8 million Facebook followers, a PR win contributing to the 1.5 million views across all channels.

This led to Coming 2 America having the best opening weekend since March 2020 and becoming the first Prime Video Original to top the streaming charts.

Please tell us about the cultural insight that inspired the work

Coming To America was not just a blockbuster but a seminal moment in Black culture. The first Eddie Murphy release following his coronation as Hollywood’s first ever Black #1 box office star – a landmark moment for African-Americans – it featured many trailblazing firsts for a studio movie: an all-Black cast playing recognisable characters from everyday African-American life, protagonists who were both Black and successful, and famously it was also Hollywood’s first ever traditional romantic comedy with Black leads. The film and its characters became treasured pieces of Black cultural heritage. We chose one of these much-loved characters, Randy Watson, on screen in the first movie for just 86 seconds, to build our mockumentary around, tapping into the nostalgia that would surround the sequel, Coming 2 America, to make content with the same comedic verve and celebration of Black culture as the movies themselves.

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