Thursday, November 7, 2013

Transmedia: Prometheus

Transmedia and multimedia are similar in that they both revolve around some form of media production. However the slight difference is that multimedia is a piece of content that uses a variety of media forms (audio, text, video, etc) in itself, as a single piece of content, and transmedia refers to a story or experience that is distributed via a variety of different media channels, meaning you have multiple pieces of content out of one story. A very interesting example of transmedia storytelling is the movie, Prometheus

Prometheus is a is a 2012 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Noomi RapaceMichael FassbenderGuy PearceIdris ElbaLogan Marshall-Green, and Charlize Theron. It is set in the late 21st century and centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as it follows a star map discovered among the artifacts of several ancient Earth cultures. Seeking the origins of humanity, the crew arrives on a distant world and discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race. This film exists in a pre-existing universe that was created in 1979 by the movie Alien. 

The lead up to this film was huge. Since the film had a budget of about $120 million the advertising and promotion was incredible. In the words of Ignition Creative Director Chris Eyerman, the first goal of the campaign was to “blur the boundaries between content and marketing, fiction and reality, story and game. It can be blurred to the point of invisibility, creating a holistic narrative experience that entertains and engages regardless of platform.” The campaign kicked off with a TEDTalk from the future, given by Weyland Industries founder Sir Peter Weyland. 

At the end of this video there was a URL leading viewers to the Weyland Industries site, where they could register as an investor in the company's secretive Prometheus project.
After this video, at Wondercon, Weyland employees handed out business cards with a phone number (**Weyland). When fans called that number they were then texted an unboxing video of the company's newest innovation.

There were videos online and on TV for Verizon FIOS subscribers, as well as a series of print ads. Access codes were distributed to select media and fans. Each unlocked an image of David (Michael Fassbender) expressing a particular emotion. All the codes together led to a full reveal of the David 8 page. This was the high point of the campaign, says Eyerman: “It resulted in more social traffic than any other single date during the campaign, including the trailer’s release.”

As the campaign progressed, the website started to include more and more information about the project that Weyland industries was working on. Soon enough the website included dozens of projects and products.

Later on, Weyland industries reached out to people via LinkedIn asking them for apply for a job in space exploration. They were all asked to pass some basic tests to see if they were fit for space travel.

The campaign splits off into many more aspects and grows to include more characters and even helps provide some backstory to the film. When the film released, viewers had a strong idea of world in which the film takes place. After the credits rolled in the movie there was another URL leading people to a cryptic video and a new set of questions.

In result, Prometheus became one of top box office grosses of 2012, Ridley Scott's second biggest opening ever, 3 billion media impressions, tens of millions of video views, and one of the most talked about digital campaigns of all-time.

Behind the social campaign of Prometheus
Prometheus Wiki
Weyland Industries Website

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