Over the weekend, a new comedic web series hit Facebook feeds, as These Two rolled out its first two episodes. And in good Kiwi spirit, it had some help to get it there with local brands providing the crew with well-earned refreshments.
Written by Liam Coleman and Kevin Tansey, who play the leads, the series follows two actors as they compete for work and live together, with their struggles providing humor for the audience.
The first two episodes see consideration given to the role of a 'stunt cock' and the Backstreet Boys and haircuts discussed in length.
Alongside the comedy, the first episode also includes a bottle of Karma Cola in the hand of Coleman dressed as a crab, and a Karma Cola poster can be seen on the wall in the second episode.
That product placement is good promotion for the drink brand, but Karma Cola head of marketing and storytelling Angela Barnett says it didn’t have any expectations to appear in the series, and to be in the first scene is “fantastic”.
These Two’s relationship with the Karma Cola began a few months ago, when Coleman emailed the brand looking for support.
However, wanting to make sure it was a worthwhile cause, Barnett made a proposition to Coleman to ensure it would be funny.
“I went back to Liam and said we will support you as long as you promise it’s going to be good”.
Since then, Karma Cola has been supporting the crew with its beverages alongside Antipodes Water, Moa Brewing Company and Major Sprout cafe.
Coleman says all involvement from the brands is purely on a food basis and he did not go in asking them for money. He adds the inclusion of Karma Cola in the episodes was a thank you for their involvement.
"We love what they do and what they stand for with the Karma Cola Foundation – it’s awesome," he says.
Karma Cola has returned the shout out, by sharing the first episode on its Facebook page, alongside the message: "Best get you some more fizz then".
Giving support to a comedy series is a natural fit for Karma Cola Barnett says, because while the brand has its serious side with the Karma Cola Foundation, it’s still a fizzy drink with a light-hearted side.
She also says with everything going on in the world, we need great comedy to be able to laugh at ourselves.
“The world always needs comedians – we always need their perspective on life.”
In keeping with this, as well as These Two, Karma Cola has also given its drinks to Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Born to Dance, Snort imporv at Auckland's Basement theatre and the premiere of the High Road web series.
Last month, StopPress spoke to High Road’s creator Justin Harwood, who said in the next few years, he would like to see companies back people to make their own series or short film. He hopes companies will start to realise people want to watch stuff on the internet, and there is a place where the two could intersect. However, he warned if brands tried to turn the work into adverts, it would be “the biggest disaster”.
Barnett says Karma Cola gets a lot of requests for support and it favours the up and coming, because those who are already famous can go to any brand.
“It’s a bit more of a punt, and we have to do a bit more research, but it’s definitely rewarding helping people when they are at the struggling stage and trying to make a career out of their passion.”
And helping that untapped talent is why Coleman says These Two was created.
"We know a lot of talented creatives and we wanted to create a platform to showcase untapped talent in New Zealand because there is not a huge amount of opportunity."
He also hopes These Two will make audiences laugh, and continue to do so into second season—which is already being written.