WhatApp is releasing its first original entertainment project later this month—a short film featuring NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
What's the deal?
Why did WhatsApp commission the film? The project is really a piece of branded content seeking to capitalize on Antetokounmpo’s worldwide fame and communicate the message that WhatsApp can bring people together. “‘Naija Odyssey’ is a story that reinforces how WhatsApp helps us embrace our multifaceted lives,” said Vivian Odior, WhatsApp’s global head of marketing. “In navigating relationships, identity, and even adversity, WhatsApp is there—enabling you to embrace all sides of you by connecting you to those who matter most.”
Meta (formerly Facebook) acquired mobile messaging app WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. WhatsApp now has more than 2 billion monthly users. The WhatsApp deal is cited in the FTC’s pending antitrust lawsuit against its parent company.
Watch the trailer for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s “Naija Odyssey” below:
The bottom line:
The uplifting message of “Naija Odyssey” appears in part designed to counter the narrative that WhatsApp has helped fuel the spread of misinformation and furthered societal divisions—which in some cases has led to real-world violence.