Advertisements are taking influencers, particularly iconic film characters, to another level.

Marketers are always looking for ways their business can stand out from the rest, and storytelling is a particularly strong route for provoking emotions among prospects. Where do we draw the line when it comes to exploiting characters and film narratives?

A television ad recently aired showing something similar to a sequel for the classic 1982 film, E.T.

A much older ‘Elliott’, now 37 years on from Spielberg’s award-winning sci-fi, reunites with ET of ‘ET phone home fame’, introducing him to his kids, catching up on life and showing him how far society has come.

*Cue “Aww’s”, heart melts and nostalgic memories just in time for the holiday season*.

While the well-done ad ignites a sense of reminiscence among some long-time fans, it also runs the risk of coming across cheap and tacky when you look closer.

Beyond the memories and sentiment, is a commercial and money fuelled purpose. It’s an ad at the end of the day, and some may find it perhaps to be a bit “knock-off” and distasteful, which is ultimately tainting the classic characters from their childhood.

The ad, which is promoting Xfinity – a big baller US tech company, shows E.T discovering and testing out Xfinity tablets, speech-activated television remotes and virtual reality headsets through the narrative of human connection and reuniting friends and family.

Xfinity says the “classic friendship between E.T and Elliott resonates around the world, and their story became a very meaningful way to bring our company’s consumer technology to life”. This is how they’ve articulated and deliberately created a link between their brand and E.T to essentially help consumers resonate with their message.

Some argue it’s a great ad – nostalgia and cute moments.

Others argue that no longer are characters left inside their world with their perfect and intended ending. Instead, the romantic and beloved memories once etched in the minds of fans, are now at the hands of the commercial giants who are re-writing their stories.

Should ET be kept alive in Ads, be left alone with his ending?

What do you think?

Laura Evans

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