Rapper and actor Ice-T has a memorable voice. It’s so unique that he added it to classic cartoons for some comedy bits on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
That’s why a pharmaceutical company recently hired him to do a voiceover for a trailer of a fake thriller film, The Season, warning people about the upcoming flu season and encouraging them to get vaccinated.
Sanofi, a French company that manufactures flu vaccines, released the spot this month.
“We decided to explore this genre and incorporate elements that evoke the excitement often associated with thrillers, using it as a means to convey the message about the importance of being cautious when it comes to getting sick with the flu, especially for older adults and those who are most at-risk for the flu and its many complications,” said Dominika Kovacs, Sanofi head of adult vaccine business unit for the U.S., via email.
Flu season takes place during the fall and winter and the efficacy of the vaccine varies from year-to-year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that this year, the “Southern Hemisphere seasonal influenza vaccine reduced the risk for influenza-associated hospitalizations by 52% [and the] vaccine might offer similar protection if these viruses predominate during the coming Northern Hemisphere influenza season.”
The trailer opens with suspenseful music and shots of dark woods, sheep bleating and Jack-o’-lanterns.
“There are warnings about me this time every year,” Ice-T says. “Some say there’s nothing to worry about. Others think I’m harmless, or that I’m gone for good.”
He then laughs.
“But I’m still here.”
He offers more scary warnings and then reveals that he, a wolf, is the flu. He closes by saying, “Get ready for me.”
The commercial then offers information about the risks of the flu for older adults and advertises the Sanofi higher-dose flu shot.
Flu shots are highly recommended for people ages 65 and older, according to the CDC.
The campaign worked with Ice-T because “we wanted someone who has a little bit of an edginess to them. Someone who is well-known for playing darker, more serious roles and has an iconic voice to match and bring the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ character to life in a fresh way,” Kovacs stated.
The company worked with four of Interpublic Group’s agencies: Weber Shandwick, R&CPMK, Resolute Digital and McCann Worldgroup.
The creatives will use organic and paid content on Ice-T and influencer channels and on the campaign’s YouTube channel, Kovacs stated. They will also use paid media targeting to try to reach adults over age 50 and Spanish-language content for the Hispanic and Latinx audiences.