Will Arnett and Jason Bateman may not be collaborating on a movie version of Arrested Development (or are they?), but the actors are co-starring in their first piece of branded entertainment. They've launched a production entity called DumbDumb, aligned themselves with content-as-commercial maven Ben Silverman and created a five-minute webisode for Wrigley's Orbit chewing gum that's a smart little piece of absurdist theater. "The Prom Date" is part of the "Dirty Shorts" video series built around the brand's promise to clean up any icky situation. (Bateman plays a doting dad, Aubrey Plaza is his eye-rolling teen-age daughter, and Arnett is her social-studies teacher/"soulmate"/surprise prom date). It's co-produced by Orbit and Energy BBDO in Chicago. DumbDumb, which plans to produce more "Dirty Shorts," has officially hung out its shingle now and will produce digital spots for other advertisers, too. My quick read: They couldn't have chosen a more perfect launch partner than the cheeky Orbit, and they couldn't have nailed the brand sensibility any better. For the sake of branded entertainment (and those who have to consume an awful lot of it, some of it really awful), I hope DumbDumb gets tons of work. And unless and until that Arrest Development flick ever comes about, this may be the only chance that fans will have to see these wacky guys together. Go with the product-placement gods, you two.
—Posted by T.L. Stanley