Taking note of the overwhelming success of 2010 film "The Social Network" which is based on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, internet search giant Google has made its foray into Hollywood.
The film titled "The Internship" is a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. It is expected to hit the theatres on 7 June.
"The Internship" is said to be different from "The Social Network", in which the conflicts between Zuckerberg and the early collaborators he worked with and the portrayal of all of them in poor light which did more harm than good.
In contrast to the social networking kingpin's refusal to collaborate with the Facebook-based film, Google was more than willing to be involved with "The Internship", which is a $58 million Fox production.
The new film on the California-based giant would substitute the need of a good PR strategy from Google. The film features two middle-aged watch salesmen who are determined to work in Google. Amid the nosy banter and crude humour, Google is portrayed as kind and gentle, and as one of those dream companies one would die to work for. With its free food, exercising classes and friendly environment depicted elaborately, the film could considerably improve Google's image as well as employee morale.
Co-founder of Google Sergey Brin comes up in a cameo role in the film and various products from Google also enjoy slight promotion.
"It's a good move. It's going to enhance and warm up Google's image perception," said Peter Sealey, former consultant at Google and former Chief Marketing Officer at Coca Cola.
The website Marketingland.com, called the film, "A fun movie, but also a beautiful Google commercial."
The positive publicity has come at the right moment, as Google is facing a fresh set of antitrust allegations probe from the US Federal Trade Commission.
The film's director Shawn Levy said the idea of making the film came into being when Vaughn approached him after watching a '60 Minutes' special on Google's work scenario. After lunch with the proposed film's team, a bunch of top notch 'Googlers' eventually agreed to participate. Vice President of Marketing at Google, Lorraine Twohill, took charge of overseeing the project until its completion.
As one goes by CEO Larry Page's remarks at the Google I/O conference, Google collaborated partly because, "executives felt they didn't have much choice, but also to promote science and technology."
The company insisted on creative control of the film and was closely involved with its production. It also insisted on exact reproduction of props in its campus for the film set, including the slides that employees use in the lobby of its buildings and the 'nap pods' they rest on during the day.
Google's involvement has paid off as the film's portrayal of a mean-spirited intern-trainer towards the end becomes all of a sudden warm and cuddly. But even as Levy says this part is an evolution from the original script, it is not clear whether it was done to appease Google or not.
As Ruben Igielko-Herrlich of product placement firm Propaganda GEM said, "The movie would get made with or without a company's input. You have to embrace the production if you hope to soften whatever bad things they might have in there."
This in itself serves as a lesson for Facebook: If you really want to straighten things up a bit, rather than edging away, get involved.