September 25, 2022

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Awesome Business

Giannis Antetokounmpo debuts in brief movie ‘Naija Odyssey’

5 min read

“In Greece, I used to be Nigerian. In Nigeria, I used to be Greek,” says two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in Naija Odyssey, a brief movie commissioned via WhatsApp, which debuts these days on Amazon High. “I used to be residing within the center between two international locations, two identities. Who am I? There have been instances when even I didn’t know that.”

In February, the Meta-owned messaging carrier inked a long-term international endorsement maintain Antetokounmpo to collaborate on content material, occasions, and group outreach, with Naija Odyssey because the partnership’s first order of commercial.

Prepared to chop thru a saturated sea of branded superstar partnerships and content material, WhatsApp got down to produce a debut on a Hollywood scale. Filmmakers Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inada and Academy Award-winning editor Mikkel E.G. Nielsen (Sound of Steel) recount Antetokounmpo’s beginning tale, making a 12-minute micro-opus which takes inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey. The content material will live to tell the tale Amazon High Video and WhatsApp’s social media and YouTube channels.

Born in Greece to Nigerian folks, Antetokounmpo leverages Naija Odyssey to take us past the standard slam dunks and arenas. The result’s an intimate reconciliation of his roots, birthplace, and sense of belonging—all whilst straddling more than one worlds.

“It’s uncooked to percentage my non-public tale like this, nevertheless it’s necessary. It’s simple to fall into the lure of defining your self the way in which others see you—to only see myself as ‘the Greek Freak.’ That’s no longer all of who I’m,” Antetokounmpo tells Rapid Corporate, regarding the nickname he earned early on in his profession that references the athletic talent that solidified him as some of the NBA’s maximum dominant gamers and personalities. “I need folks to look me now as I see myself.”

The movie brief is evidence of idea that partnerships between skill and types can seem seamless and symbiotic. Because it seems, WhatsApp has performed a sound position in Antetokounmpo’s real-life hero adventure—which is helping the product placement within the movie really feel extra herbal.

“My arrival within the U.S. used to be a troublesome one. I felt by myself from time to time, looking for a explanation why to proceed right here when all I sought after used to be to be with circle of relatives. After I felt in particular low, I discovered myself writing to my circle of relatives on WhatsApp for improve,” says the 27-year-old, whose mom Veronica co-narrates a part of the movie with him. “The ones messages—some are proven within the movie—had been what impressed me to stay going. Even hundreds of miles aside, my circle of relatives’s encouragement helped me push thru.”

It’s that stars-are-just-like-us homespun relatability that drew WhatsApp to operating with the athlete and, what the emblem, in flip, hopes will resonate with its greater than 2 billion customers international.

“Our partnership with Giannis began from a spot of aim. We felt we had a shared goal and trust within the energy of connection in serving to you in finding your house, your own home, your identification, and your personal development,” WhatsApp’s international head of promoting, Vivian Odior, tells Rapid Corporate. “We [often] name ourselves the glue or the host. We’re a platform that’s bringing folks in combination the place distance and/or different lifestyles trials would possibly another way play a component.”

Since getting into the NBA draft in 2013, Antetokounmpo has helped skyrocket the recognition of the small-market Milwaukee Greenbacks franchise, main the group in 2021 to its first identify in 50 years. Foreseeably so, the powerhouse has collected a number of important sponsorship and endorsement offers, together with JBL headphones, Hulu, and a long-term Nike deal that comes with his personal sneaker line. He’s additionally an investor, along Michael Jordan, within the luxurious watch market WatchBox, a minority proprietor of the Milwaukee Brewers, and has an possession stake within the sports activities drink startup Able Diet.

Antetokounmpo’s latest mission with WhatsApp units out to provide the celebrity an important platform to additional push the narrative past his energy baller character.

“This isn’t a couple of basketball partnership. We don’t simply need to inform every other lifestyles tale of the climb to basketball superstardom,” says Odior. “We focal point on 4 levels of his lifestyles the place he had a query about identification, belonging, and connectedness—we got down to shine a mild in this narrative and no more so that you could be a megaphone for WhatsApp.”

With Naija Odyssey, Antetokounmpo objectives for lovers to look themselves mirrored in his tale.

“I am hoping they really feel impressed to proceed their very own adventure of self-discovery via discovering power of their shut connections and their tradition the similar method I’ve,” he says.

Logo partnerships and advertising tasks paintings smartly once they land smartly. Lately, corporations equivalent to Nike, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Montefiore Einstein, and SAS Airways have made memorable affects find middle and humanity of their respective classes. With the discharge of Naija Odyssey, WhatsApp is taking a look to give a contribution to the dialog via sharply solidifying its personal intentional, robust storytelling voice.

Odior, a contemporary Advert Age 2022 40 Underneath 40 honoree, teases a possible long term rollout of compelling user-based tales that spotlight the app’s position of their lives in instances of party and battle.

“We really feel there’s no higher mouthpiece for the ability of WhatsApp than our customers. We connect to genuine, uncooked, original areas in folks’s lives,” says Odior, who states the corporate should no longer shy clear of addressing delicate problems and politics WhatsApp customers face day by day. “I don’t suppose we will manage to pay for to be floor as a result of our product isn’t floor. We need to convey that means to the conversations that we begin.”

Whilst Odior quips that the 13-year-old app remains to be in its “teenage” section, the corporate has best begun exploring emblem storytelling over the previous few years.

“So, it’s a baby from that viewpoint,” she says. “The project from the emblem facet is to lend a hand cement the power of this product this is so integral of their lives, in a utilitarian method, from being a back-of-mind appreciation to extra of a front-of-mind appreciation. How will we get it from head to middle? That’s the overarching activity of the entirety we’re looking to do at the moment.”

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