California Inspires Me is a collaboration between Google Play and California Sunday Magazine – a new online and print magazine launching itself onto the shelves and screens of Californians (and anyone else) with an interest in just about anything under the sun.
Here they’ve produced some bitesize promotional content using the tried and trusted formula of 'celebrity endorses the place they are from’. Fortunately they’ve moved on a touch from the 1970’s tourist board approach of just getting Mr Foreign Celebrity to tell you that there are lots nice things in 'My Country'. Nowadays it’s a little more about inspiration and character formation rather than simply listing the beaches and restaurants. And if being inspired is often a state of mind, then what better way to evoke the ephemeral nature of memory and feeling than through animation? So far three films have been made, the best of which features comedy actor/musician Jack Black talking about growing up in his bit of California. Along the way he touches on retro video games, progressive rock and his inability to get up early. The animation is seductive, and the usual celebrity+place = inspiration shtick is given more credence through the choice of Black and his style of delivery – his undertone of cynicism makes the whole thing feel more believable.
Not as believable, however, as my all time favourite piece of branded content for another, far more inspiring destination. Who knew Telly Savalas was an honorary Brummy? Why didn’t Fox News mention that? Answers on a Bullring postcard please.