Designed to be partially stunt-driven and partially character-driven, Nathan for You is an ingenious mash-up of documentary, reality TV and comedy that revolves around outlandish scenarios dreamed up by the guy in the title – Nathan Fielder – in an attempt to help struggling companies get back on track.
As we head into season three, the first two episodes of which are available on SBS On Demand, it’s time to have a look at the eight greatest things Nathan has done in the pursuit of marketing and corporate improvement.
Heroic pig rescues a baby goat
Right from the beginning, the seemingly ridiculous ideas Nathan comes up with were more successful than he planned. The second episode of Nathan for You saw him fake an animal-rescue video in the hopes of boosting the popularity of a petting zoo. Despite his misgivings about anyone actually being dumb enough to fall for the idea of a pig rescuing a baby goat from drowning, it got millions of hits and was featured on various nightly news shows.
Daddy’s little girl has date protection
Dating is fraught with peril, especially for women, who often have little idea of what they’re going to be walking into when they’ve been set up on a blind date by an agency. Nathan’s brainwave for improving this process – and adding more female clients to a guy-heavy dating agency – is to have a chaperone involved. Specifically, a “daddy” secretly keeping an eye on them during the evening’s adventure.
Starbucks gets dumb
If you’re in America, where parody is protected from legal accusations of copyright infringement, what’s to stop you taking everything that works for a major coffee chain, putting the word “dumb” in front of everything from the store name to the menu items to the CDs on sale at the counter, and waiting for the cash to roll in? It’s just stupid enough to work – especially if your stunt goes viral before the episode it’s filmed for goes to air.
A crappy idea for yoghurt
You can get yoghurt that’s flavoured like almost anything these days, so to stand out from the crowd it’s important to go really into left-field. Hence the idea of yoghurt that tastes like poo. Everyone’s going to want to try it at least once, right? And the best part is – if you complain the flavour isn’t spot-on, everyone will know you’ve tasted the real stuff.
The ultimate petrol rebate
A struggling petrol station needs to start bringing in customers – and the most obvious way to do that is with cheaper prices. Nathan suggests offering a rebate, with the stipulation that it has to be hand-delivered. No problem for most penny-pinchers... except the place it has to be dropped off at is at the top of a mountain. Which is only accessible by one path. On foot. After a 90-minute hike. Then you have to solve a series of riddles to find the hidden drop box.
A new market for booze: kids
Obviously it’s illegal to sell alcohol to people under 21 in America, but Nathan – as usual – has a brilliant work-around. He’s gets a bottle-shop owner to sell claim tickets to underage kids, which they can redeem once they’re legally entitled to their booze. But that’s not all – they’re also allowed to take some photos with the booze bottles, so they can show off for their friends straight away.
Cabbies who don’t chat
In Australia, we have a simple signalling system for showing you want to have a chat with the cab driver – you sit in the front. In America, it’s a bit more complicated, so Nathan’s institutes a groundbreaking touchscreen system that informs the man or woman behind the wheel that you’re either keen for a conversation or prefer silence. He even goes the extra mile, adding options for conversational topics like World War II or sport.
Helping kids have a ball
Nathan considers a toy company owner’s invention – a weird ball called a Doink-It – as a boring failure. But taking the stance that marketing is more important than the product, he embarks on a mission to present the Doink-It as an item that “is the only proof you’re not a baby”. Sadly, the inventor isn’t that keen on the idea of a cool, cigarette-smoking mascot...
Watch season 3 of Nathan for You on Mondays at 8:35pm (AEST) on SBS 2 and SBS On Demand.
Missed the first episode? You can watch it right now: