It was only a matter of time before some big corporation caught wind of the drive-thru rap video phenomenon, previously covered here on Serious Eats back in April. Drive-thru rap videos on YouTube date back to 2006 but only recently have hit the mainstream. The basic premise: People drive up to the drive thru, usually with a friend providing beat-box, and rap with intentionally difficult-to-parse orders to confuse the employees on the other end of the intercom—the whole affair videotaped and uploaded to YouTube for all to see.
Now, Taco Bell (or an ad agency working for them) has co-opted the meme, keeping the appearance of a homemade video but adding pretty glossed up close-ups of the food--and sanitizing it of its humor, spontaneity, and originality. Some might say homage, I say rip-off.
Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, the Taco Bell commercial has created a feedback loop of sorts: The drive-thru rap video meme has reached a whole new, national audience, and new videos have appeared on YouTube likely drawing inspiration from the rip-off itself.
After the jump, the commercial, as well as some of the original inspirations.