As published on December 20, 2016 on Billboard.com by Leila Cobo
By now, you may have caught that irresistible Walmart TV spot that features children of all ages doing what they always do on Christmas Day: Shaking their gifts in an attempt to guess what’s inside.
The shaking is to the tune of “Shaky Shaky,” the catchy Daddy Yankee song that the rapper wrote months ago — with no notion of it ever being used in a television commercial.
“Shaky Shaky” has been a viral sensation ever since Yankee, a savvy marketer, set it free, so to speak, not on radio, but via Musical.ly. Back in May, Yankee asked fans on the app to upload their own versions of “Shaky Shaky,” a danceable reggaeton track which, at that point, had no music video. Within 12 hours, more than 10,000 “Shaky Shaky” videos had been uploaded, making the track a global trending topic.
Fast-forward six months, and “Shaky Shaky” has already topped Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart and caught the ear of many.
In fact, the Walmart campaign was conceived around the song, says Olga Reyes, executive creative director of Lopez Negrete Communications, the ad agency that created it.
“Music is a key element in the Walmart campaign,” Reyes tells Billboard. “And in this particular spot we needed to tell a story about Christmas morning, about finding the perfect gift and the kids opening the presents. As soon as I heard ‘Shaky Shaky,’ I could see in my mind the kids shaking those gifts. It conveys the wow moment of kids finding what they want. ‘Shaky Shaky’ became another character in the story.”
Having the spot revolve around the song isn’t common, says Fernando Osuna, chief creative officer for Lopez Negrete, which has long worked with Walmart. “We usually don’t find music and then come up with stories. Usually we find a story and the music amplifies it. But the moment you look at this spot, you can see everything is perfect.”
In order to get the rights to “Shaky Shaky,” the Lopez Negrete team enlisted Creative License, the New York-based company that secures talent and licenses for brands and advertisers.
“We saw how many hits the song had on YouTube and we were concerned,” admits Osuna. “But then we said, ‘If we get it, it will be huge.’”
Huge indeed. Yankee’s official “Shaky Shaky” video has more than 617 million views on YouTube. The two lyric videos have over 50 million views, and there are several million others from the many, many videos uploaded to YouTube that use it as the soundtrack for countless choreographies.
After watching the Walmart commercial, it’s hard to imagine it working with any other music, but Reyes says there was a plan B.
“It was a completely different story with different kind of music,” she says. Yankee’s music, however, “really captures the Latin spirit.”
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