Big Things Come From Small Beginnings.
(Image: Simon Sticker 2010)
In this new participatory era, we are all active users of media technologies day in and day out. As a result, we are no longer simply consumers, but contributors to this ‘transmedia’ world.
Transmedia is the spread of content across multiple channels, producing a unified entertainment experience for all. It’s about building a world through various mediums of technology, which, when pieced together, contributions to the finished story. As Henry Jenkins reveals, “Transmedia storytelling practices may expand the potential market for a property by creating different points of entry for different audience segments” (2007).
Transmedia provides roles and goals for the reader, allowing consumers to connect, interact, and become part of a community (and excitement). A prime example of this can be taken from the lead up to Ridley Scott’s most recent movie, ‘Prometheus’. In an attempt to market his new movie, Scott and his producers set up a transmedia campaign unraveling background information and raising excitement about the upcoming film.
It all started with a co-branded video of ‘TED’ (a popular thought leadership speaking series). The video is reimagined in the year 2023 where ‘technology genius and industrial mogul Peter Weyland shares his vision of the future’ (the twist is that Weyland is a fictional character from ‘Prometheus’, played by Guy Pearce). This first video set up the plot for ‘Prometheus’ while raising questions and hype about the film. Furthermore, at Wondercon conventions in America, fans received ‘Weyland Industries’ business cards (a fictional business from the movie), which led to the short video, ‘Big things come from small beginnings’. The business cards also had a number on them. After fans called the number, they received a text message leading to another viral video, ‘David 8’. This video not only gave an introduction to David 8, a Cyborg and central character in the movie, but also enhanced his ‘creepy’ personality portrayed in the movie. Once all of the trails were followed and the clues found, the fans revealed an unlocked mission named, ‘Prometheus’.
Scott and his producers broke through the walls of traditional marketing (such as banners and posters), understanding that Gen-Y audiences, like myself, are barely affected by these methods. They embraced this alternate route for digital campaigns with an attempt to reconnect with our society, dominated by electronic media. Scott enabled his audience to participate in the world he had created, without over selling and forcing his movie on the public. Transmedia isn’t about selling and marketing, it is about inviting and engaging in a shared and valued experience.