Atlanta hip-hop duo Tag Team trades its ‘whoomp’ for ‘scoop’ in new Geico ad

Atlanta-based '90s rappers DC Glenn (left) and Steve Gibson of Tag Team are back in the public eye with a fun commercial for Geico. Courtesy of Martin Agency
Atlanta-based '90s rappers DC Glenn (left) and Steve Gibson of Tag Team are back in the public eye with a fun commercial for Geico. Courtesy of Martin Agency

Credit: Courtesy Martin Agency

Credit: Courtesy Martin Agency

Their 1993 smash, ‘Whoomp! (There It Is),’ is the centerpiece of playful commercial.

For about a month, it’s been the scoop heard ‘round the country.

But the crafty reworking of Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)” — an eternal party anthem birthed in the finest Atlanta strip clubs almost 30 years ago — nearly wasn’t associated with ice cream, but a ladle.

The ever-present Geico ad featuring Atlanta’s Tag Team — aka DC “The Brain Supreme” Glenn (Cecil Glenn) and Steve “Rolln” Gibson — flipping sugary mounds of dairy into bowls while grinning and barking, “Scoop! There it is!,” was originally conceived with a different meal in mind.

“I pitched the idea of Tag Team helping to make dinner and it was going to be, ‘Soup! There it is!’ Everyone laughed and then we Googled (the phrase) and realized that Justin Timberlake had a similar line on a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, so we said, ‘We can do ice cream.’ People like ice cream better than soup, anyway,” said Roger Hailes, senior copywriter for the Martin Agency.

The Richmond, Virginia-based advertising firm has handled Geico’s commercials since the late 1990s; utilizing nostalgic artists and their recognizable songs has become a hallmark of the insurance company’s campaigns, whether spotlighting ’80s-era hair metal (Europe with “The Final Countdown,” Ratt with “Round and Round”) or innocuous hip-hop (Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” was tapped for a 2014 spot).

For Hailes, “Whoomp!” was a song that revisited his “coming of age” years. But the track also appealed to the creative team’s desire to showcase, simply, fun.

“Why (‘Whoomp!’) resonates with people, now it’s everyone’s song,” said Sean Riley, senior vice president and creative director at the Martin Agency. “People have been listening to it since the ’90s and it’s a song that’s a celebration. I think that’s why people are getting a kick out of it.”

At the top of the “people getting a kick out of” the resurgence of “Whoomp!” column is the affable duo of Glenn (the chattier of the two) and Gibson, who have lived in Atlanta since the late-’80s.

During the interview call with the Martin Agency representatives, the Tag Team pair — brothers, as they refer to each other — is alternately giddy, thankful and proud, not only that the song has revived their national profile, but that its very structure allows it to continuously peek out of pop culture.

“I’ve DJ’d at every club (in Atlanta),” said Glenn, who retired from spinning in 2015, but works as an actor and voice over artist. “I’ve done all of the historic clubs in Atlanta and ‘Whoomp!’ has always been an extension of us partying. The way that song hit (in 1993), we knew we wanted to make party records. That’s why it still resonates today. It’s a clean rap record. It’s up-tempo. It’s fun. Just 15 minutes ago, someone sent me a video of her daughter bouncing to the commercial (standing in her crib). What do you say to that? For me, it’s poignant.”

Steve Gisbon (left) and Cecil Glenn of Tag Team - shown in a 1995 AJC file photo - tried to mimic the success of "Whoomp! (There It Is)" with a follow-up album, but their one major hit still stands as the defining moment of their music career. Courtesy of RICH MAHAN
Steve Gisbon (left) and Cecil Glenn of Tag Team - shown in a 1995 AJC file photo - tried to mimic the success of "Whoomp! (There It Is)" with a follow-up album, but their one major hit still stands as the defining moment of their music career. Courtesy of RICH MAHAN

Credit: RICH MAHAN

Credit: RICH MAHAN

The history of “Whoomp!” starts with hitting No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart; reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” and UB40′s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” were the respective roadblocks to a No.1 showing); and, over the years, appearing in films including “Elf” and “Addams Family Values,” commercials for detergent and diapers and on the dance floors for about 7 billion wedding receptions.

The song’s newfound recognition in the Geico commercial also marks the first time Tag Team — still regulars on the touring circuit (“If there wasn’t a pandemic right now, we’d be doing shows,” Gibson interjected with a hint of melancholy) — has appeared in an ad, an experience that they relished.

Filmed in November at a residence in Atlanta, the spot also features actress Nicci Carr as the housewife calmly cutting vegetables in the kitchen before the camera pans over to Tag Team, armed with ice cream scoops and sliding dance moves — which they were free to improvise. Anthony Goolsby plays the father who walks in with his daughter (Amethyst Davis) and immediately joins in the scoop-a-licious dancing.

The duo’s wardrobe was also distinctively Tag Team.

Nicci Carr (from left) and Atlanta-based '90s rappers DC Glenn and Steve Gibson of Tag Team in a new Geico ad that spotlights their party hit, "Whoomp! (There It Is)." Courtesy of Martin Agency
Nicci Carr (from left) and Atlanta-based '90s rappers DC Glenn and Steve Gibson of Tag Team in a new Geico ad that spotlights their party hit, "Whoomp! (There It Is)." Courtesy of Martin Agency

Credit: Courtesy Martin Agency

Credit: Courtesy Martin Agency

“I got a text (before the shoot) that ‘wardrobe is tomorrow.’ And I was like, wardrobe? I want to look like me! I said, ‘I gotta go talk to these people,’ and everyone was cool and let us wear our own stuff,” said Gibson, who sports his Tag Team jacket on screen.

Glenn credits his acting background and previous commercial work for his improvised shout of “Sprinkles!” at the end of the clip, as he throws a handful of the colored candy confetti in the air.

“I still laugh at the commercial — and I made it!” he said.

Hailes noted that even after dancing and scooping about 50 times during filming, Glenn and Gibson’s level of vivacity never dipped.

“It was impressive to see the enthusiasm. Who they are onstage, that came through,” Hailes said.

The concept of an ice cream party also registered deeply with Glenn, whose father died in recent years.

“This takes me back to when my brother and I were little boys and we made our own ice cream and we would sit in the driveway, cranking it round and round. I want that when children look at this commercial they go, ‘Mama, I want an ice cream party.’”

To extend the reach of the ad’s popularity, Tag Team is working on a “Scoop! There It Is” challenge (prizes for the best recordings of kids singing the song) and re-creations of the commercial with an ice cream party as the reward.

Tag Team's massive one-hit, "Whoomp! (There It Is)," is now being used in a Geico ad that changes the catchphrase to, "Scoop! There it is!" Courtesy of Tag Team
Tag Team's massive one-hit, "Whoomp! (There It Is)," is now being used in a Geico ad that changes the catchphrase to, "Scoop! There it is!" Courtesy of Tag Team

Credit: Courtesy Tag Team

Credit: Courtesy Tag Team

While novelty-based spots often cycle out quickly due to their ubiquity, the Martin Agency believes Tag Team has escaped an early burnout.

“We love taking pop culture and reintroducing it and making it famous,” said Riley. “People are not getting tired of this (commercial), which is when you know you have a hit.”

As for that song, well, Tag Team is both candid and philosophical about what it’s meant to their career.

“If you’re gonna be a one-hit wonder, let this be the one hit!” Glenn said with a laugh. “This has been exactly what the world needed. I understand that you can change the world and bring happiness and joy, make people smile and forget about (life) for 30 seconds.”

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