We’re entering a new and exciting age of filmmaking, in which prominent actors star in hour and a half long ads for large, multinational corporations, and we walk away feeling warm and fluffy inside and googling cruise prices.
Last night I punched in my sister-in-law’s Netflix password (thanks girl) and watched their new risk-free venture film, ‘Like Father’ (2018). Wait, is that what that movie was called? I dunno, I just feel like that title has very little to do with what the actual film was about, which was, as you’d know if you’d spent more than fifteen minutes watching it…….
Now I’m well aware there’s nothing new about product placement.
Likewise there’s nothing new about stars doing advertising campaigns for a bit of extra cashola.
But what’s new and interesting about “Like Father” was how blatantly the entire thing was one giant ad for (wait for it, wait for it)
(Royal Caribbean International Cruises, in case you missed it.)
Yes, in this golden age of television, the powers that be have found a new and innovative way of storytelling, while minimising both the financial risk and budget.
Step one: Get a bunch of people that everyone likes
Step two: come up with a basic, safe storyline – Self-obsessed-workaholic-phone-addict-career-woman (🚨) is justifiably left at the altar by better-late-than-never-disposable-snowflake while her deadbeat-estranged-father looks on. They get drunk, inexplicably end up on her honeymoon on a cruise ship with no luggage (important question: where is dad’s passport?) and spend ten days in tropical locations the audience will salivate over bonding and now she’s not so horrendous anymore. Hooray!
Step three: just insert whatever you want the audience to know about your product. Here’s what I gleaned from this Netties ad bonanza:
- The suites are actually quite nice and give you a private balcony!
- The suite has both a double bed AND a fold out sofa bed which is “pre-made” (good to know, good to know).
- You might just find yourself on a floating bar. Surprise!
- You can buy an entirely new set of clothes on board, and it’s not actually as bad as you might have anticipated.
- Your allocated cruise dining table mates will be an eccentric but reliable group of instant best friends, including some solid gay male stereotypes.
- Kids are everywhere on the cruise and are uncontrollably noisy as they’re just having SO much fun!
- If the aforementioned kid noise gets too much, you can get your own cabana in an adults only bar zone.
- You can get pretty good “cell phone service” despite being in international waters. (Once again – it’s important that a viewer sitting in the burbs watching this next to a sleeping baby knows this during the film.)
- You can have a no-strings attached fling with some non-threatening Canadian dork, with zero repercussions.
- There’s a surfing activity on board that anyone – ANYONE – can try.
- They have light up glasses, many bars, and heaps of ice cream (which good old dad marvels at).
- There are nice staff on board who will get you tickets for “sold out” activities – wink wink nudge nudge.
- You can go on day trips to interesting tropical places that you’ve always yearned to visit… …where you can meet offensive stereotypes locals (“yah mon have some pot mon mon mon”) and heal your decades-old wounds and long repressed childhood trauma.
- Did we mention the surfing activity?
- You can go ziplining too! And on one of the ship’s many water slides. So many activities to choose from.
- Some more shots of the ship, pls.
- You could be as horrendous and friendless and permanently angry as this ‘Rachel’ bird…… and STILL have a great time as a result of our fun activities and forced friend making
- Also, there’s a karaoke competition.
Congratulations, you have made your captive audience enjoy watching your hour and a half long ad AND long to spend their cash on your product.
So there you have it. Get googling. Or, if you’re like me with a kid who likes escaping, climbing and constantly endangering their life, feel smug in the knowledge that you’re not missing out on much by not going on cruises, cos let’s be honest, you’d spend the whole time freaking out that they were about to throw themselves overboard anyway.