Though it’s essentially branded content
Meta’s WhatsApp just released a trailer for its new short film about the story of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, titled Naija Odyssey. The movie is a short film (12 minutes, according to Variety) focusing on the story of Antetokounmpo’s life.
The film appears to essentially be branded content, given that Antetokounmpo signed an endorsement deal with WhatsApp in February that made him the social media platform’s first brand spokesperson. So while this isn’t exactly the same as Apple jumping into film and TV with things like Coda and Ted Lasso, Naija Odyssey could be a sign that WhatsApp is exploring original content in some shape or form — even if it’s just for future branded opportunities.
Here’s the fuller description of the film, from the YouTube trailer’s description: “The true story of a basketball star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, born in Greece to Nigerian parents. His whole life people have tried to tell him who he was. Now Giannis tells his ‘origin story of many origins’ as he reconciles his roots, birthplace, and sense of belonging between cross-cultural worlds.”
While the Naija Odyssey trailer says the movie will be released on September 21st on Amazon Prime Video, Variety reports that WhatsApp will also share the movie on its social media channels and on YouTube.