One of the most talked about commercials leading up to and after the Super Bowl was Kia's "Space Babies" spot. It hit on many determining viral cylinders -- humor, babies, outer space, animals. It stretches beyond just imagination and fantasy and showcases to an uncomfortable and relateable situation for both kids and adults. Kia picked "All of the above" on the list of predictors for a successful ad. They really knew what they were doing when they signed off on it. Three million dollars well spent for the car company.
But advertising dollars aren't the only way to reach that level of success and creative synergy. For the latest Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn buddy comedy, The Internship, due out in June, producers shot some of the movie on Google's campus. The movie is centered around two 40-something salesmen who are outmatched by the digital age and decide to compete for internships with the tech giant. Although Google didn't have any reported financial investment in the film, the company has capitalized in other ways beyond lending its headquarters for some shots: Googlers Sergey Brin and Hugo Barra appear in the movie, Google+ Hangout and Google Play are being heavily used for marketing, and there's already online chatter about how much the movie got right about life at Mountain View. (It also helped that the movie's trailer hit the web around the same time Google was named the best place to intern.)
Even four months ahead of the movie's release, the internet is predictably giving The Internship a lift. Between this movie, The Social Network, and the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, "it's clear just how mainstream the tech revolution has become in the past two years," said Addy Dugdale at Fast Company.
As the business landscape has changed, and new industries and game-changers have emerged, Hollywood has taken note. The stories, however, remain the same. Think about it: Vaughn and Wilson playing a couple of middle-aged slackers looking for a new opportunity to start from scratch at the bottom rung so they enroll in an internship program and hilarity ensues. That's not an idea unique to Google's culture or experience. But what makes this movie so marketable is its connection to Google, and people's obsession with the search giant's secrets. Chances are that this fictionalized (and comedic) take of what it's like to be competing at Google won't demonstrate any new revelations about how business is conducted there. It doesn't matter, though. People will flock to theaters just for the backdrop.
It's easy to already see that this movie will be a hit, too. Search online for the title of the movie and Google's company name and you'll find dozens of tech blogs that have covered this movie's trailer in recent days. Buried between every tenth or eleventh result is a movie blog. Compare not only the volume of the tech blogs vs. the movie blogs, but also the substance of what they're covering. Film blogs tend to write a paragraph or two summarizing the trailer, waiting for the summer release to write more extensively about it. Tech blogs, however, have taken a bigger outlook here because their time to shine in the Hollywood world is, while increasing, still uncommon.
A Vaughn and Wilson buddy comedy, no matter where it's set, will get a certain audience of moviegoers. Adding Google to the mix not only helps the company promote itself and its products, but it means that a whole other group of tech bloggers will publicize the movie in ways that most other movies don't get that attention from them. As the summer comes, the hype around this movie will only be more magnified by tech lovers, treating it the way they do the next powerful device they can't wait to get their hands and eyes on. Bringing to life what we already love online is a recipe for box-office success. And, in this case, it helps a franchise to innovate and spread its wings even more.
Watch the trailer, below: