By Carmel Lobello
To the uninitiated, there may seem to be few connections between big businesses and rap. But in fact, corporate behemoths have been producing rap and R&B worker-training videos for almost as long as the music industry has been producing regular rap and R&B music videos.
Here, seven of the best corporate instructional videos from the last 30 years.
1. Wendy's: Grill Skills
Someone with a Reddit account this weekend dug up this treasure: A Wendy's training video that starts as a cozy walk-and-chat with the restaurant's founder, Dave Thomas, but quickly evolves into a video inside a video inside a video, the deepest of which features a psychedelic rap song about how to grill burgers, complete with singing meat patty ladies with long black lashes.
2. Wendy's: Hot Drinks
Wendy's actually made a series of R&B videos in the mid-1980s, like this one, which lists the company's best practices for serving hot drinks in four verses — one each for coffee, decaf, tea, and hot chocolate. Yes, this means an entire verse is dedicated to explaining how to pour coffee into a Styrofoam cup.
3. McDonald's: Clean It
Sometime in that same decade — the year is unclear — McDonald's produced this impeccably choreographed take on Michael Jackson's "Beat It." It features a bizzaro Michael Jackson wearing a too-big white glove, who does the moonwalk while barking cleaning instructions at his backup dancers.
4. Nando's: Wrapper's Delight
Nando's more current, and somehow more uncomfortable, entry isn't so much a training video as a motivational tune to promote the franchise's new chicken wraps. Oh, and it's set to "Rapper's Delight." The most informative line in the song: "You know we take checkbooks, credit cards — all money."
5. Pier 1 Imports
In 2001, the pricey furnishings and decor company Pier 1 Imports got in on the action with this original rap video starring an excited skinny white couple and their necessarily black salesman. It's chock-full of awkwardly worded advice: "The key to the sale is to make a connection / Why not start with a humorous question?"
6. Once in a Blue Moose: Selling Is Service
This one, for Once in a Blue Moose, a gift shop in Alaska that sells everything from fine jewelry to moose-ear headbands, is a lot like the Pier 1 video, but with a really, really low budget. Which somehow makes it a lot more endearing.
7. Southern California Rapid Transit District: Bus Rapping
What do you get when you combine rapping, public transit, and a boss irritated by workers showing up late? Some pretty choice lyrics, that's what: "While you were out there gettin' your yucks, the public was out 5 million bucks / That's how much maintenance uses each year, to make up for workers who just ain't here."
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