L.A. Adman Helps Bring Caine’s Arcade to the World

Nirvan Mullick tells 9-year-old's delightful story

"Caine's Arcade," which has taken the country by storm in recent days, tells the tale of an imaginative kid and the ability of social media to unite people and make dreams come true. Awww, don't you just hate sappy, reaffirms-your-faith-in-humanity stuff like that? Of course you don't. The 11-minute film by Nirvan Mullick, a partner at L.A. creative agency Interconnected, has generated 2 million-plus YouTube/Vimeo views and an explosion of media attention for its subject, Caine Monroy, who built a cardboard arcade in his dad's East L.A. used-auto-parts shop. The craftsmanship and functionality of the arcade is amazing. I can't open a cardboard box without tearing it to shreds. This kid reimagined consumer goods and packaging as claw-machines, ticket dispensers and basketball and hockey games. In the latter, the fixed goalies are little plastic army men. Awww. But this story goes beyond cute. Caine's absorption of the capitalist ethos is so complete, he charges $1 for two turns, $2 for a "fun pass" with 500 turns, and devised a "security system" (attaching calculators to the cardboard boxes) to verify each ticket's authenticity. Players win prizes that include his old Matchbox cars. Caine had no customers until Mullick discovered the arcade when he walked in to buy a door handle for his car. Mullick enlisted social media (what else?) and surprised the pint-sized entrepreneur by drawing an ecstatic crowd of players. (Note the youngster's perplexed, slightly freaked-out reaction to the flash mob. Yeah, he's wise beyond his years.) Caine tells his dad, "This was the best day of my whole life." Can't type anymore. Tearing up. One last thought: Awww…some!