It makes perfect sense that Miles Mouvay, the world's most dedicated film fan, met his bestie in a theater lobby in 1993 while they were both waiting to see Jurassic Park and special-ordering nacho cheese popcorn.
And it becomes a meta moment when the BFF turns out to be Kel Mitchell, since Miles Mouvay, IRL, is Kenan Thompson.
Fandango, which introduced the Mouvay character late last year, launches another round of marketing for the summer blockbuster season that tosses in a dash of '90s nostalgia—Good Burger reunion!—and adds a new dimension to the Miles mythology. (His backstory involves being born in a theater and toted home in an extra-large popcorn bucket).
"He's given our brand a real personality," Adam Rockmore, Fandango's head of marketing and communications, says of the character Miles and the actor Thompson, who stars on SNL. "We wanted to do some stunt casting, expand his world and keep it fresh."
In the new campaign, Miles gets a dog named Bark Vader, dressed in a mini orange smoking jacket and paisley ascot, and ventures out of his memorabilia-laden fan cave.
He even travels through time to a fictional medieval village, though the townsfolk don't prove to be too receptive to Fandango's digital entertainment hub. "Sorcery!" cries an old hag at Mouvay's demo of some online trailers and ticketing options.
The first four ads, from Los Angeles-based Stun Creative, kick off this week. They will continue, with additional creative pieces, for several months on national broadcast and cable, mobile, in-theater, social media and outdoor, including billboards in high-traffic areas of Los Angeles and New York.
The digital campaign features 10-second spots custom-created for Snapchat and an expanded Miles Mouvay social media footprint.
It's one of the most extensive marketing campaigns in Fandango's 15-year history, Rockmore says, and introduces the new FandangoNOW on-demand streaming service with a character that has "done a lot to drive our brand awareness and affinity."
Not unlike Flo or The Most Interesting Man in the World, Miles Mouvay is the company's official brand ambassador and will continue to be the face of the flagship service and new products as Comcast-owned Fandango broadens its offerings. (Recently acquired Rotten Tomatoes will appear in the campaign later this summer, Rockmore says.)
Consumers from Gen Z to millennials, still captivated by all things '90s, seem to have an especially soft spot for Thompson and Mitchell.
The comedians, stars of the '90s Nickelodeon hits All That and Kenan & Kel, appeared in September on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in a version of their beloved Good Burger restaurant bit. On YouTube alone, that sketch snagged more than 10 million views.
For the Fandango ad, Stun Creative executives "took some liberties" with how the two funnymen met but showcased a truism at the relationship's core.
"They told us they shared not just their work at Nickelodeon but a real love affair with movies and movie trivia," says Brad Roth, Stun's co-president. "That's always been part of their dynamic, so we just had fun showing their visceral connection."
The campaign, hyping both Fandango and upcoming flicks like The Secret Life of Pets, Suicide Squad, Finding Dory and Star Trek Beyond, puts Mouvay in Q&A mode with the spot "So Glad You Asked," meant to mirror the recurring skits Thompson did on Nickelodeon and continues to do on SNL.
"It's a nod to the milieu that viewers know him from," Roth says. "And it's a vehicle that we can insert any of the new Fandango business into."
Another mainstay? Mouvay's nerd-cool spectacles and his dapper duds—because, as Rockmore says, "he's always ready to go a premiere."