Commentary

'Ari Gold Is Back' In Entourage/Cadillac Campaign

If you go see Entourage in the movie theater, I will not judge you – just as I won’t judge you if you go see Spy, Aloha, Ant-Man, Tomorrowland or Meryl Streep, Laura Dern and Bradley Cooper in ACTING!!!!! Nobody needs an Entourage movie, you say? Allow me to counter with the suggestion that nobody needs any movie - no, not even Magic Mike XXL. They’re movies; they’re not organ-replacement surgeries.

It’s pretty simple. Somebody somewhere believes that there is a viable existential basis for an Entourage movie. If you find this personally objectionable or view it as yet another sign that we’re softening ourselves up for eventual alien annexation, that’s on you. Because I have seen the motivational underpinning for an Entourage movie, and its name is People Who Would Like To Show You Things That You Might Choose To Purchase With Your Money.

Outside of Frank “the Tank” Ricard making himself available for commercial engagements, what could possibly excite bro-brand marketers more than an Entourage movie? I’m sure there are other TV shows and movies - say, all of them - that have played the product-placement game more subtly. But Entourage, at least in its TV incarnation, was basically a fairy tale with boobs. Everything always worked out for the protagonists in the end. Rarely did actions have consequences.

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As such, Entourage might as well have been called Aspiration. And what’s the one word marketers nakedly yearn to use to describe their brands? Yup. Aspirational.

Anyway, that’s my long way of getting into a discussion of the brand video that Entourage and Cadillac made in advance of the film’s opening - which marks the first time in a long while that I’ve liked anything about Entourage or Cadillac. As I understand it, the TV show ended with Jeremy Piven’s superagent Ari retiring and everybody flying off on separate private planes equipped with hi-def heli-jacuzzis or something. If that’s the case - and I apologize for not being sufficiently masochistic to confirm this on my own - the filmmakers likely needed a way to walk Ari back into the world of showbiz.

Enter Cadillac and its Ciel “luxury convertible concept car,” of which there are only a few in existence. The clip, “Ari Gold Is Back,” places the titular bro-acuda in Italy - where, a week or so into retirement, he’s bored as hell. We see him bored while stomping grapes with his wife, bored while painting alongside his wife, etc. Is his wife the problem? No! Focus, man! He misses the life! He - wait for it - ASPIRES to go back to work.

In an excellently brief and probably canonically incongruous plot contrivance, Mrs. Ari gives him the go-ahead to return. Somehow he still appears to need inspiration; he finds it in the form of the Ciel - and the mysterious long-haired stranger driving it. And a movie script or something? I dunno. In any event, Ari jumps on a bicycle, tails the car until it enters a mysterious tunnel, finds much to his surprise that the tunnel is the world’s most exclusive talent agency and that the mysterious long-haired stranger is actually him, and exits the tunnel driving the Ciel. Fin.

(I pause here to remind everyone that, in supporting-size doses, Jeremy Piven isamazing. Entourage did itself, and Piven, a huge disservice when it started writing six Ari tantrums into every episode.)

“Ari Gold Is Back” works, in fact, for that very reason: It’s hard for any character to grate too much over the course of four minutes and change. Also, and this is the important part, it showcases the Cadillac brand in a way that makes it feel cool, contemporary and (swallows deeply) sexy. Is that a fine-looking car, or what? Where can I see more of that car? Does Cadillac make other cars like it? These are not questions that readily spring to mind when gazing upon the lumbering monstrosities that comprise the bulk of Cadillac’s brand fleet.

I, alas, will not avail myself of the Entourage movie’s balletic product-placement, in the theater or anywhere else (lest you get the impression that I believe myself to be above entertainments of this sort, let it be known that I rarely see movies without a number somewhere in or around their title). If anyone checks it out, let me know how well the Ciel comes off; apparently its rareness and aspirationality becomes a key plot point. I can say this: if the car looks anywhere near as covetable in the flick as it does in “Ari Gold Is Back,” Cadillac will have its first brand triumph in some time.

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