Fast Talkin'

Remember John Moschitta, the fast talker for Federal Express? Here is the FedEx commercial that made him a household name, or at least mouth.

In this rapturous age of rap, George Watsky is the latest fast mouthed marvel — the speediest rapper ever. When his “Pale Kid Raps Fast” video went viral he tallied-up almost 10 million views. He also earned a spot on the Ellen Degeneres Show and commercial offers, including one for T-Mobile. Apparently he refused.

Instead T-Mobile found another fast rapper because a good idea wasted is a bad idea. Watsky, in turn, “couldn’t resist” and made a parody thereof. Here is the official T-Mobile version with their pert spokeswoman. And here is Watsky’s version with a, well, you figure it out.

After all the dust on the rapping smack-down settles. You got to ask yourself: How’d he do that? You gotta see it to believe it.

(See “Designing Design History,” the movie here.)

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Ryan McGovern, 
    Your right this is a great story.
    Saying this, I suspect that T-Mobile is so tone deaf that it will consider Mr. Watsky’s parody high praise. It’s a pity but I think we live in a era that doesn’t understand parody is supposed to hurt. Actually I’d say Watsky’s piece is meant as satire, which is meant to go a bit further and cripple. But then again, satire doesn’t fare well in this culture either.

  2. Steve, thank you too, for pointing us to the long version. The whole “disconnecting” part at the end made all the difference. Still amazing and surreal, this many years later. Ever see the boxed board game that came with a VHS with questions about Mr Joe Sedelmeier’s “greatest hits” commercials from the U.S. and Canada, written into a board game? Had to have a copy! I think it was advertised in Ad Age…

  3. Darek – if you decided to blast all art forms that persons of questionable character have participated in or popularized, you’d have to cut down painting, singing, dance, street art, magic, stand-up and probably all instances of cinematic pictures. You’ll be living in a very cold grey world after all that work is done. Give rap a chance, buddy.
    I remember John Moschitta, but more so for his micro-machines commercials.
    I remember Pale Kid Raps fast too. I watched it, tweeted it, replayed it, and then bought George Watsky’s album. I just liked him on FB. 
    What impresses me most about this video is hearing the story behind it. We can all assume that he disagreed with the artistic direction of T-Mobile’s marketing machine, and opted not to be a part of that project. But he didn’t stop there. When he saw how awful the resulting project became, he illustrated the difference by showing what authenticity can look like. 
    Although I’m left with a question – When this video hits millions of views, will it have accomplished its implied task of embarrassing a gigantic brand?

  4. I do remember John Moschitta and the inspired FedEx spots he appeared in. I met the man years ago at a convention in Las Vegas. I literally ran into him with Matt Marshall, my best friend in the 5th grade, who I had not seen in 20 years, who was his agent. I had so internalized Moschitta’s commercial persona that I was shocked to see that his mustache was a prop—he looked so ordinary without it. The three of us spent the better part of the night and early morning playing blackjack.  When I asked him him how he learned to talk so quickly he answered that as a boy  he wanted to be immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records. His way in: be the man who rode the Cyclone in Coney Island for the longest nonstop period of time. He was not given the opportunity and so he thought learning to speak at the speed of sound was the next easier way to win his laurels. In a sense he proved Malcolm Gladwell’s point about genius or virtuosity being as much about practice, and then more practice, as any rare God-given gift. I should add he was charming but not particularly talkative.