Meta-owned messaging app WhatsApp is stepping into the film business. Earlier this week, WhatsApp announced its first original short film “Naija Odyssey,” which tells the story of NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was born in Athens, Greece to Nigerian parents.
“Naija Odyssey” will premiere on Prime Video on September 21, 2022.
The short film signifies WhatsApp’s foray into entertainment, an unusual venture for a social messaging app. However, unlike tech giant Apple’s original content, “Naija Odyssey” appears to be a way to promote the brand given that Antetokounmpo recently signed an endorsement deal with WhatsApp, another first for the app.
Vivian Odior, WhatsApp’s global head of marketing, told Variety, “‘Naija Odyssey’ is a story that reinforces how WhatsApp helps us embrace our multifaceted lives. 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.”
While the short film is a reminder that WhatsApp can help connect you with others, it was also likely made by WhatsApp to profit from Antetokounmpo’s fame. He was named NBA All-Star Game MVP for Milwaukee Bucks in 2021.