Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ideas Too Big For One Medium

Ideas Too Big For One Medium


Defiance is a new TV show on the SyFy network. Defiance is also a new multiplayer online game. The difference? While both are set in the same dystopian universe and even share characters, one experience takes place in San Francisco and the other in St. Louis.

Transmedia creative properties are those that depend on multiple media channels and formats to compose a singular story. The notion of transmedia creativity has won respect and acclaim over the past few years, culminating in a recent announcement by the Producers Guild of America that “transmedia producer” is now an officially recognized title. Marketers and entertainment professionals alike are now looking to the transmedia model as a more powerful and engaging way to structure their content.

Transmedia projects fall into three categories. Franchise transmedia is the act of extending a story from its native property across other media vehicles. Film campaigns that stretch the movie universe into other arenas are an example of this. Marketing transmedia are stories that weave across media in support of a brand, product or existing marketing campaign. Native transmedia is the purest version of the format, consisting of stories that were born to live across multiple media.

A great example of marketing transmedia was seen in the campaign for Jay-Z’s book Decoded, which simultaneously promoted Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Pages from the book showed up at physical locations that were mentioned in it. Participants could use Bing’s 3D photo-based maps to help them locate the pages while exploring the stories of Jay-Z’s life. Billboards were used to attract attention and pull participants into the experience.

Nokia has also successfully experimented with transmedia as a marketing approach. During the summer of 2010, the citizens of London had the opportunity to download free mobile games from Nokia’s Ovi Store. These games were really the entry point to a larger story involving the cause group Conspiracy for Good which played out over websites, live events and augmented reality experiences on mobile phones.

Brands are always attempting to lure consumers into actively engaging with their advertising and seeking out branded experiences. By its very nature, transmedia draws consumers into a world that requires them to participate and not just passively consume. When planning advertising campaigns, marketers should consider how the experience can stretch across multiple media in a way that requires it to be followed by the consumer. This will lead to increased participation and enthusiasm from an audience that becomes heavily invested in the experience.

Greg Steen, 06.29.2011

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