A shortcut to creating great characters, and by association, great content is to nick characters Hollywood has already created for you. Sorry, I meant, resurrect, channel, pay homage to, etc. This past week we've seen two notable examples of well-loved characters returning to the screen courtesy of brands rather than their original creators.
Both characters have been plucked from cult classics of the 90's. And both are good, but very different in execution. Direct Line have employed Winston Wolf, the supreme fixer of messy situations from Pulp Fiction, so suavely played by Harvey Keitel. It's a neat idea for an insurance company, and understandably they want to use Mr Wolf for their ads. But it's a shame that with such a rich and admired character Direct Line didn't decide to do more and create a proper story with him. Plenty of people would be keen to know what he's been up to, and how on earth he ended up working at Direct Line. Instead the online video presence for this idea is a couple of odd how to videos introduced by Mr Wolf, but featuring a (cheaper) associate. With 'how to tie a tie' and 'how to iron a shirt' it feels like the thinking ran out at just the same moment as the money.
A better content experience is provided by Kahlua, the rum-based liqueur often used to create the White Russian, which just happens to be the famously favoured tipple of the most laid-back character in recent cinema history. Jeff Bridges brings back The Dude from The Big Lebowski to spin us a mysterious yarn about The Dude's very own formative White Russian experience. It's typically enigmatic, but well-paced with a decent dose of narrative tension. It doesn't have that many views yet, but we think stories from The Dude could grow into a nice little series for Kahlua if they have a mind and a budget to invest in it. If there's one thing The Dude knows about, beyond stained rugs, nihilists, bowling and drinks, it's how mix up a tall tale.