- Hip-hop group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony has changed its name to Boneless Thugs-N-Harmony, a reference to Buffalo Wild Wings' boneless chicken wings, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
- The 25-year-old group stars in a video spoof of behind-the-scenes music documentaries explaining the backstory behind the name change. In the video, three of the four group members take on new names: Krayzie Boneless, Flesh-N-Boneless and Wish Boneless. Layzie Bone brings conflict to the story, refusing the name change in the video.
- Buffalo Wild Wing's products are seen throughout the video. The group released the video across its social media channels and is also selling limited-edition Boneless Thugs-N-Harmony merchandise at BonelessThugs.com. The line includes t-shirts, hats and a gold necklace.
Buffalo Wild Wings' partnership with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is a noteworthy marketing effort for how it tries to infuse the brand with celebrity credibility and influence.
Through the name change, behind-the-scenes video and merchandise, the effort aligns the brand with influencers in what feels like an organic way by creating a story around its boneless chicken menu item that focuses on a popular hip-hop group's identity. The effort has the potential to drive earned media as hip-hop fans share the video and share images of themselves wearing the merchandise.
The Buffalo Wild Wings campaign is the latest in a series of recent brand campaigns targeting hip-hop fans with unique products in an attempt to get the community to embrace a brand, including Coca-Cola's new campaign for Sprite Ginger that's part of its "Thirst for Yours" platform, which showcases hip-hop musicians, designers and other creators.
The campaign is also reminiscent of a recent Doritos commercial at the Grammy Awards in which hip-hop artist Post Malone changed his name to Post Limón to support the Doritos Flamin' Hot Limón chips marketing campaign. In the TV commercial that ran during the awards show, Post Malone bites into a chip and it sends him into a new dimension where his name is changed to Post Limón. After the spot debuted, Post Malone changed the display name on his Twitter and Instagram accounts to Post Limón. He has since changed his name back, though the ad remains pinned to the top of his Twitter account.
Buffalo Wild Wings was purchased by Arby's parent Inspire Brands in February 2018 and has since been transforming its marketing department. CMO Seth Freeman joined in August 2018 and hired The Martin Agency to help the brand find its voice, he told Ad Age.