On April Fools’ Day, General Mills issued a press release announcing that Lefty, the glove mascot of Hamburger Helper, had released a rap mixtape. The album contained five original tracks, plus two music videos. Even though the lyrics are about Hamburger Helper, the tracks are actually pretty #fire and the mixtape is earning a lot of fans.

Here’s how it hit me:

Nearly a week later,  I was in the dining hall with my friends, watching as they passed around a phone playing rap music.
“Have you heard the Hamburger Helper mixtape yet?” one friend asked.
“Is that like some new rapper?” another kid replied.
“Dude. You have to hear this.”
He handed the phone over, and we listened to songs about literally making Hamburger Helper…and weirdly enough, they were actually decent rap songs. One friend was convinced it must have been a famous rapper using an alias. My friends laughed about this gag, but I had a different take. “Wow, that’s some awesome content marketing,” I said, which was met with some blank stares. But I knew Media Shower blog readers would know what I was talking about!

This well-planned “prank” is actually another excellent example of content marketing success. While many April Fools’ jokes are just flash-in-the-pan news stories, the Hamburger Helper mixtape is still gaining buzz on Twitter, now weeks later. Most tweets show the same sentiment: this mixtape is surprisingly lit (that’s Millenial-speak for “good.”) Even Buzzfeed, patron-saint of Youth Internet Culture agrees. There are two key steps General Mills took in making sure their offbeat effort would be a huge success, and content marketers (and maybe even some amateur rappers) should take note!

Now even more of a favorite with kids.

Recruit Talent For Your Content

Marketing directors in suits aren’t the ones who wrote these rap songs. Instead, they worked with McNally Smith College of Music students, rap artists Dequexatron X000 (DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip & Bobby Raps), and internet comedian Retro Spectro to help create cohesive tracks that actually showcased the talent of these up and coming artists. Collaboration is the root of great ideas, and it’s important for marketers to recognize that sometimes they might need some extra help. By recruiting quality talent for this project, Hamburger Helper was able to create some awesome songs. If you are looking to create great content, it may be wise to work with a content marketing company that has its own resources such as creatives and writers. For example, Media Shower carefully vets our community of writers to make sure that everyone working on your content is highly qualified.

A Sense of Humor Helps, Especially If You Commit

This prank was done for April Fool’s Day, a time when everyone on the web decides they are funny. General Mills showed they are willing to have some fun and not take themselves too seriously. Conceptually, a mixtape about Hamburger Helper is ridiculous. But they commit to the bit. The joke isn’t half-baked: they’ve got album art, music videos, and more. They could have just released a single and they probably would have received some buzz. But by committing to the joke and releasing a full mixtape, they’ve earned over 3 million plays, almost 30k likes, and over 20k followers.. all on Soundcloud alone!

With Hamburger Helper releasing an extremely fun mixtape and the most popular Broadway musical in years being a hip-hop opera about Alexander Hamilton, it’s certainly a time for hip-hop/rap music from unlikely places! Hamburger Helper latched on a popular culture trend and by fully committing and collaborating with talented creatives, they accomplished a huge feat: an April Fool’s joke that actually continues to promote their brands even after April 1st.