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Buffalo Wild Wings – Boneless Thugs-N-Harmony (2020)

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After 25 years of reinventing rap, legendary group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is changing their name to Boneless Thugs-N-Harmony — to promote the new boneless chicken wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, obviously. The ad takes this play on words to the max, by parodying all the tropes of the late night TV documentary genre — to-camera confessionals, a crisp voiceover, ominous musical swells, bleeped swearing and a black and white freeze frame edit.


This is two minutes of character-driven comedy that keeps the product front and centre, and we love it. The mockumentary style is flawless, but above all, what makes this fly is the combination of a gag-packed script and performers willing to take the piss out of themselves.

Having one band member disagree with the name change was a smart move, too — conflict is drama, and comedy is just drama played for laughs. The Boneless Thugs trying to win Layzie Bone over gives the ad narrative drive, and it’s an excuse to exposit information about the product. Without that element of story, this ad would’ve struggled to keep us interested beyond the one-minute mark.

Our favourite gag is the “dipped boneless wing'” medallion, that’s “dipped in gold.” It could’ve been left as a background gag — an Easter egg to reward repeat viewings — or thrown away as a quick visual gag, but by foregrounding this funny idea and taking it to the next level with the addition of dialogue, it draws our attention to the product. They even look delicious when they’re covered in metal! Boneless wings, you say? My mouth is watering.


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