BrandArena: Now Streaming: Naija Odyssey starring Giannis Antetokounmpo

Thursday 22 September 2022

Now Streaming: Naija Odyssey starring Giannis Antetokounmpo

The short film is part of the NBA star’s partnership with WhatsApp, explores the importance of global connection to forge and maintain identity

Yesterday, WhatsApp and Giannis Antetokounmpo release Naija Odyssey, an epic, four-chapter short film that explores the importance of international connectivity through the lens of the Greek and Nigerian basketball prodigy.

The short film, directed by international duo Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inada, is available to view on YouTube and in select markets on Prime Video starting today, September 21. Naija Odyssey is the first product of the partnership between WhatsApp and Antetokounmpo since its initial unveiling at the NBA All-Star Game in February 2022.

Narrated by Antetokounmpo and his mother, Naija Odyssey is a loose interpretation of the Greek epic poem The Odyssey, informed by the Milwaukee Bucks forward’s evolution from Nigerian boy born in Greece to 2021 NBA All-Star MVP. Portraying the plurality of Antetokounmpo’s heritage, the story celebrates how WhatsApp has enabled the basketball star to reach his athletic potential abroad while remaining true to his roots.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said: "As a Nigerian born and raised in Greece and currently living in the US, I have always felt both a strong connection and a longing distance to each part of who I am and where I have come from. Using WhatsApp to stay connected to my family while abroad has been pivotal to furthering my understanding of who I am no matter where I am, and I know that’s a sentiment many can relate to. I’m proud of what we have created with Naija Odyssey, and I hope that it’s  a story many around     the world can find themselves, and their journeys, reflected in.”

Vivian Odior, head of marketing at WhatsApp said: “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. We can’t wait to share it with the billions of people around the world who have been similarly impacted, enabled, and empowered by WhatsApp.”

Directors Nono & Rodrigo said: "As both immigrant and multicultural directors, we feel so proud to be able to tell Giannis' journey, and create something that could resonate with a lot of people that have gone through the same situations. This project was a dream; not only because of the super talented team    behind it - Partizan, Translation, Whatsapp, and Giannis' team - but also because it was really emotional to make a modern version of The Odyssey and integrate a relatable identity story like Giannis’ to it."

Watch the film on Prime Video: 

● Naija Odyssey is the first product of a new partnership between Antetokounmpo and WhatsApp.

● Antetokounmpo is the first brand partner for Meta.

● In February of this year, Antetokounmpo announced his partnership with WhatsApp by wearing a custom hoodie during the tunnel walk into the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. Designed by Nigerian designer, Niyi Okuboyejo of Post Imperial, the hoodie “hacked” his jersey number 34 into +234, the international calling code for Nigeria. On the back, the hoodie was emblazoned with his family's name in its original Yoruba spelling, Adétòkunbọ̀ .

● Taking a truly cross-cultural approach to production, the film was shot between Milwaukee, Lagos and Athens, with creatives from around the world coming together to shoot, edit, and sound mix the film.

● In tandem with the film release, WhatsApp and Giannis are releasing a signature in-app sticker pack as an extension of the “There’s No One Like Us” narrative. This pack showcases the breadth of expressions we share in close relationships. These stickers fuel conversation and celebrate the richness of Giannis’ multifaceted identity. The pack was designed by Nigerian illustrator and product designer Mario Nomso.

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