Tell me a (transmedia) story


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  • People are far less passive these days. They have become so adept with technology that it’s no longer just click here or respond here. With all the tools & apps available to us now, within all the channels surrounding us…. It’s ‘take and recreate’ into something new. Throw some ideas into the mix….because it’s such the REMIX culture now. People are so capable & comfortable with technology and creativity that anyone is a publisher….sometimes far more creative than those with training. And the younger generation don’t even blink.
  • World data production is set to exceed 1bn terabytes this year. Not only are we bombarded on a daily basis by communications offline, it’s become just as bad in the online world. Messages get easily missed Brands are reverting to using physical elements to stand out.
  • Before I get into a description of what transmedia storytelling is, I’ll tell you a little personal story from when I was growing up. I was trying to think of ways to show an analogy to what Transmedia is. I thought back to a time in high school, when there was this girl….
  • It’s important to note that transmedia doesn’t promote a product, it can be part of THE product.
  • For Jenkins, the origami unicorn from BladeRunner was a bit of a lynchpin. It has remained emblematic of the core principles shaping his understanding of transmedia storytelling, a kind of patron saint for what has emerged as increasing passionate and motivated community of artists, storytellers, brands, game designers, and critics/scholars, for whom transmedia has emerged as a driving cause in their creative and intellectual lives.
  • We now live at a moment where every story, image, brand, relationship plays itself out across the maximum number of media platforms, shaped top down by decisions made in corporate boardrooms and bottom up by decisions made in teenager's bedrooms.
  • Rather than there being a film narrative that has spin offs, key elements of The Matrix story are in the video game, the animations and the comic books. There is no one single source where one can turn to gain all of the information needed to comprehend the Matrix universe.  Since there are so many elements to the story, every person involved is likely to have something to share, some social currency to trade, so communities form and information is passed around the network, continuing the story  
  • The transmedia concept took off first in Film & then gaming. Both categories have that natural storytelling component attached as well as in their products. Transmedia would of course be helping to extend these existing stories further. However, if people are so drawn to stories, brands have an opportunity to capitalise on this to their own advantage. There’s much to learn
  • Marketing looks at people as individuals. We target individuals & behaviours. People don’t exist as individuals, we are highly social beings. People form opinions based on what friends, spouse, family & peers say.
  • Groups naturally spring up around stories that have rich worlds to explore, discuss & share.
  • Individual media characteristics will have a pronounced affect on how each is used.
  • Traditional thought says that we should be simple & straightforward in communications. Sometimes there’s pushback that we shouldn’t always put complex messages & references into communications. That some people won’t get it, or will miss it. This could lead to watered down ideas made for the lowest common denominator. But the existence of these ‘knowledge communities’ as long as someone, somewhere gets it….it will find its way through the community. And finding it will reinforce their ego and validate their status amongst their peers. This is inherent in online social behaviour (you send smart virals to smart people).
  • When Audi released the A3, it needed to connect with prospective buyers, namely highly affluent, tech-savvy young men. The Art of the Heist, a immersive 24-hour-a-day alternate reality experience, used the target market's web-addicted tendencies to play out a mysterious storyline over multiple platforms.
  • To begin with, websites were launched providing background details on the three main characters. Emails, videos, recorded calls were all released to give the characters a back story.
  • Blogs and small space ads drove traffic to the site This turned out to be the main site of the shadowy company that is later hired to track down the stolen Audi A3. Audi is still not yet involved.
  • CCTV footage is released online of two men breaking into a New York dealership and stealing the Audi A3. At the time of it happening, security guards give chase and bystanders are none the wiser
  • The following day at the New York Auto Show, where there should have been an Audi are instead a number of notices revealing to the public, the car has been stolen. Blogs pick the story up and spread the news.
  • is launched by another new character. It keeps track of all the info surrounding the theft and recovery. It acts as a hub for the public to understand all the clues and information in one place.
  • A series of 8 short films are released across the web as rewards for those following the clues. Each delves deeper into the characters and back story. Beyond this, Audi release an ‘official’ video by its head of US marketing requesting information on the whereabouts of the stolen car.
  • The campaign to retrieve the car goes mainstream. Audi releases a TV ad and puts up billboards in 5 major US cities to bring attention to the theft. Calls made to the number automatically reroute people to the retrieval company.
  • Consumers become participants in the heist by answering coded classified ads seeking retrievers to help recover the car. Following this, one of the characters is interviewed on VH1 at the E3 games show. He gives away certain clues as to who stole the car.
  • Three months after starting, the final chapter of the campaign is played out in front of a live audience in LA and broadcast live across the web. The characters are revealed and the car returns
  • Based on the Halo story, I Love Bees was an original radio drama that was deconstructed and delivered to consumers over an unlikely broadcast medium: ringing payphones. I Love Bees was a giant multi-player, multi-platform story, immersing players in the world of Halo2 in the four months leading up to the title’s launch. he game play of I Love Bees tasked players around the world to work together to solve problems, with little or no direction or guidance
  • I Love Bees began when jars of honey were received by people who had previously participated in ARG’s. The jars contained letters leading when arranged correctly led to the I Love Bees website and a countdown. At around the same time, theatrical trailers for  Halo 2  concluded with the Xbox logo and a URL,, that quickly flashed a link to
  • I Love Bees began when jars of honey were received by people who had previously participated in ARG’s. The jars contained letters leading when arranged correctly led to the I Love Bees website and a countdown. At around the same time, theatrical trailers for  Halo 2  concluded with the Xbox logo and a URL,, that quickly flashed a link to
  • The site appeared to be a website about bee keeping that once visited appeared to have been hacked by a mysterious intelligence. Dana, the webmaster of the ilovebees site, created a weblog stating that something had gone wrong with her website, and the site itself had been hacked. Suspecting that this was a mystery that could be unraveled, Halo and ARG fans spread the link and began to work on figuring out what was going on.
  • The Why so serious campaign was designed to provide fans with a hugely immersive experience in the run up to the release of The Dark Knight. Played out over 15 months, it centered on the internet but branched out a cross a huge range of touch points.
  • Players in the experience became real citizens of Gotham City. They fuelled the rise of the Joker by becoming henchmen, campaigned for good by taking side with Harvey Dent and took the law into their own hands by becoming copycat Batman vigilantes.
  • The campaign began with the launch of a website featuring the fictional political campaign of Harvey Dent, with the caption, "I Believe in Harvey Dent." The site aimed to interest fans by having them try to earn what they wanted to see.
  • A vandalized version of the website, called "I believe in Harvey Dent too," where e-mails sent by fans slowly removed pixels was launched at the same time to eventually reveal the first official image of the Joker; it was ultimately replaced with many "Haha"s and a hidden message that said "see you in December
  • At the San Diego Comic-Con, "Jokerized" $1 bills are found that lead to, a page advertising for jobs as Joker henchmen. The page includes coordinates to a location near the convention center and a countdown clock set to go off the next morning at 10am..`
  • Hundreds gather at the time and place listed on At 10am, a phone number was written in the sky, launching the game. Collaborating with friends online, the crowd was sent on a scavenger hunt throughout the city. After solving all the clues, a fan was selected to be abducted and killed in place of the Joker. The participants at San Diego were given clown masks as a reward, while online players were rewarded with the first teaser trailer for The Dark Knight
  • In October, following a Halloween theme the Why So Serious website updated with a ransom note linked with 49 locations. T he community uploaded images of 49 different letters onto the website, spelling out the message "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.” Clicking on the image led to a new website,, challenging participants to take photographs in clown make-up by major national landmarks.
  • Those who uploaded their photos were later sent a copy of the Gotham Times. Within this were numerous links to fictitious websites all based in Gotham city. These websites, created a living world in which the game would continue
  • From here Gotham City PD became involved leaking wiretaps of corrupt cops and other information relating to the film. A new email was received by those registered urging them to pick up a package at 22 different addresses around the country. The packages turned out to be cakes with mobile phone inside, which would later be used to contact players
  • After the death of Heath Leger, the entire campaign shifted its focus towards Harvey Dent and his campaign to clean up Gotham.  Participants are encouraged to print out and distribute flyers and submit photos/video of their efforts. Those who had submitted their phone numbers on the previous version of the site received a phone call describing Harvey Dent's crusade and advertising the website.
  • The I Believe in Harvey Dent quickly developed into an almost real political campaign. Dentmobiles turned up at various times around the country encouraging people to show their support.
  • As the game progressed, the different characters from the game continued to make their presence known. The Jokers antics kept fans hooked and continued to spread across the web and into the real world. At one point addresses were posted that gave the location of lockers in which packages containing a bowling bowl, more Joker phones and further clues.
  • As the release date of the film neared, the game continued with online scavenger hunts puzzles, which when solved provided new content. However, the Joker seemingly got there first having jokerized the new trailer.
  • The entire campaign was a huge success. The level of content and complexity within the story had fans and players hooked from the start. Blending real world and online elements gave the game a very realistic feel and gave players a genuine feeling of being part of Gotham city. The game involved over 10m participants across 75 countries and has been seem by many as the ultimate ARG. It spread across hundreds of websites, interactive games, mobile phones, print, email and events.
  • In the final week before the film release hundreds of fans calling themselves citizens for Batman gathered in NYC. At 10pm the bat signal was illuminated providing fans with a glimpse of what was to come, however, the Joker got there first. Every single website connected to the game was jokerized with the Joker seemingly having won the battle.
  • Based on the Halo story, I Love Bees was an original radio drama that was deconstructed and delivered to consumers over an unlikely broadcast medium: ringing payphones. I Love Bees was a giant multi-player, multi-platform story, immersing players in the world of Halo2 in the four months leading up to the title’s launch. he game play of I Love Bees tasked players around the world to work together to solve problems, with little or no direction or guidance
  • Moving from campaign mentality to conversational mentality
  • Think how we can create enough rich & interesting content that would spark communities to form around. Communities that would get involved, take our content & run with it to create extensions of the ‘story’ that can be consumed by a wider audience (even the passive ones). By putting a brand community in the middle it forces us to think… are we in fact making brands and communications which are interesting enough for a community to form?
  • In immersion, then, the consumer enters into the world of the story and this is pretty much your experience…., while in extractability, the fan takes aspects of the story away with them as resources they deploy in the spaces of their everyday life.
  • This concept of world building is closely linked to what Janet Murray has called the "encyclopedic" impulse behind contemporary interactive fictions - the desire of audiences to map and master as much as they can know about such universes, often through the production of charts, maps, and concordances. . Pushing back even earlier, we can see this world building impulse at work in something like the Sistine Chapel Ceiling Murals, which seek to stitch together characters and stories from across many different parts of the Bible into a single coherent representation. The concept of world building seems closely linked to the earlier principles of immersion and extractability since they both represent ways for consumers to engage more directly with the worlds represented in the narratives, treating them as real spaces which intersect in some way with our own lived realities. Witness the production of travel posters for fictional locations, for example.
  • We can think of transmedia storytelling then as a hyperbolic version of the serial, where the chunks of meaningful and engaging story information have been dispersed not simply across multiple segments within the same medium, but rather across multiple media systems. There still is a lot we don't know about what will motivate consumers to seek out those other bits of information about the unfolding story - ie. What would constitute the cliffhanger in a transmedia narrative - and we still know little about how much explicit instruction they need to know these other elements exist or where to look for them. Early writing on transmedia (mine included) may have made too much of the nonlinear nature of the transmedia entertainment experience, suggesting that the parts could be consumed within any order. Increasingly, we are seeing companies deploy very different content and strategies in the build up to the launch of the "mother ship" of the franchise than while the series is on the air or after the main text has completed its cycle. So there's work to be done to understand the sequencing of transmedia components and whether, in fact, it really does work to consume them in any order.
  • Belief in content developed around secondary characters or topics further explored. Or the creation of mock websites or real responses or TV ads to further create the illusion of reality.
  • Many times opportunities come up where fans can take big steps in contributing to the storyline through their actions. It’s important to note to sometimes integrate their actions into the storyline thereby letting the fans actions actually influence where the story goes.
  • From major studios to micro-distributors, experiments in transmedia – screen storytelling in a networked world – have taken many forms. There have been blockbuster games, film characters with their own social network pages, fictitious websites: a dizzying array of attempts, many with mixed results. Ensuring success is hard: attracting audiences, managing digital production and safeguarding creative integrity are all big challenges. This workshop, designed for producers, directors and writers, gives a general overview of these formats, a clear insight into their value and opportunity, and strategies for how this content can be effectively integrated into the production process.
  • There are several production companies who we can partner up with to help design a transmedia experience for consumers. Like Conker Media who’ve done multi-platform programmes for BBC, where teens can interact with characters through various media including SMS and get an extended experience of the programme. And companies like PreLoaded & Something Else who specialise in various types of gaming experiences on different platforms. And higher end companies like Savvy Platforms and Six to Start who were involved in making the Audi Heist game as well as some of the bigger more successful ARG’s that have run.
  • Tell me a (transmedia) story

    1. 1. Transmedia Storytelling
    2. 2. KNOWLEDGE
    3. 3. We are storytellers… But can we be storymakers? And empower consumers to be the storytellers?
    4. 4. “Man is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and thelike is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story -- a story thatcraves meaning and pattern.” Eric Hoffer, American social writer & philosopher “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.” — Robert McKee
    5. 5. Stories are so important to us. They teach us. Provide motivation. Validate our lives. Provide a compass. Help us connect.
    6. 6. Hyper social, newly participative, ‘living’ transmedia… …armed with ideas
    7. 7. We live in an ever expanding &crowded media space
    8. 8. We’re functioning in an amazing multi-platformed world
    9. 9. We are storytellers…and our environmentis now offering morex What if we could create a story more powerful than traditional advertising?x What if we we were able to go beyond the limits of what our media budgets allowed us to do?x What if we could create a movement where our audience helps to build & shape the story further?
    10. 10. The girl
    11. 11. The girl Her friends Random My friendsme people Transmedia story experience Brand Multi-platform touch points Communities Consumer
    12. 12. Transmedia storytelling, in its simplest form, integrates (entertainment)experiences across a range of different media platforms……. …It immerses an audience in a story through a number of different entry points, providing a comprehensive & coordinated experience of the entire story. A rich story that lives & breathes through different channels & platforms.
    13. 13. Rather than spread one big idea across different media types, you utilise differentfunctions and communities to allow you to tell different parts of the sto ry Suc c e ss frag r nar men elies o rati ting n eac ve a hm nd m the wha edia s aking t it d pace oes d bes o t
    14. 14. Each media type should n provide compelling reaso to engage at that point, clearly integrated to d provide ease of access an high involvement Each channel should be strong and self-containedenough to live on its own, but can then be pulled together into a greater brand narrative
    15. 15. Where it started…
    16. 16. The unicorn
    17. 17. From the boardroom to the bedroom
    18. 18. The Matrix Trilogy - An early example of Transmedia Storytelling. What the general public sawWhat die hard communities found (and talked about)
    19. 19. TV / Film Gaming Brands Natural storytelling Opportunity for inherent in categories brands to adopt these story ‘habits’ from entertainment and gaming
    20. 20. Expansion of Transmedia Storytelling is powered by 3 key drivers: In society A move to Hypersociability Paid for vs Open An explosion in source/free cross platform In Entertainment usage In Marketing
    21. 21. What makes it different from a traditional multimedia campaign?
    22. 22. But isn’t this Cross Media or just plain integrated marketing? The most significant difference with Transmedia The creation of knowledge communities around a deep, rich powerful story which fuels the passion of these communities to add to & spread the story further
    23. 23. It’s about exciting these communities… “Produce something that pulls people together and gives them something to do.” -Henry Jenkins
    24. 24. Transmedia targets the more active Targets these guys To feed them all Forrester participation ladder
    25. 25. Due to its differences it requires different media planning considerations. Media Neutral Planning Transmedia Planning
    26. 26. Simple / single-layered may not always be best… Advertising Transmedia Simple Richer / more complex Get message across Get message across, fuel thought, spur action, spark community, encourage discussion & spread further
    27. 27. Why are brands doing it?• Consumers’ lack of attention• Media choices, i.e watching TV while using the Consumers want stories but nowcomputer, multi screen usage have a lot more of a role in affecting those stories.• Spectator to participator culture, The best storytelling brands win.• Consumers comfort & impatience with mediatechnology, they want content to come with them.
    28. 28. INSPIRATION
    29. 29. Three stories TV / Film Gaming Brands
    30. 30. Audi A3The Art of the Heist
    31. 31. The brand new Audi A3 goes missing. Audi are clueless, a mysterious retrieval company is hired, but it falls upon eagle eyed members of the public to follow the clues and solve the crime.
    32. 32. Players are directed to the mysterious, no mention of Audi, yet…
    33. 33. A break in filmed on CCTV, an Audi A3 stolen.
    34. 34. The following day, a simple sign replaces the car at the NY Auto Show. Blogs pick up on it asap.
    35. 35., the place to go for information launches, recording every little clue.
    36. 36. Eight short films provide the back story, an Audi ‘official’ pleads for information.
    37. 37. Campaign goes mainstream, TV ads and billboards direct players back to
    38. 38. Players are recruited as retrievers after solving codes in classified ads, one character reveals some clues on live TV.
    39. 39. Those who have made it this far are rewarded with a live event playing out the final stages of the campaign.
    40. 40. OasisCactus Kid
    41. 41. Began with a TV ad
    42. 42. Character’s full stories come to lifethrough other channels (22 in fact)
    43. 43. A call to action goes out encouragingeveryone to get involved
    44. 44. More ads are released, drawing more consumers in and adding new layers to the story
    45. 45. Even more channels areintroduced, and PR reallybegins to take off
    46. 46. Another call to action,this time to decide thefate and choose theending
    47. 47. The story concludeswith a final TV ad,once again pulling innew people toexperience the wholestory
    48. 48. Batman: Dark Knight Why so Serious?
    49. 49. Why So Serious invited players to become part of Gotham City, to choose their allegiance in the run up to the release of the film.
    50. 50. The story began with Harvey Dent and the launch of his political campaign.
    51. 51. One person remained unimpressed. The joker created his own site and provided hidden messages in an attempt to sway supporters.
    52. 52. The Joker began his recruitment drive, sowing the seeds of anarchy and inviting players to become part of the chaos.
    53. 53. Hundreds heeded the call and began a scavenger hunt to uncover the mysteries to become part of Gotham City.
    54. 54. A ransom note was uncovered by players, their next challenge, appear at 49 famous landmarks dressed as The Joker.
    55. 55. Those who took part received copies of The Gotham Times with fictitious websites. Gotham city had come alive.
    56. 56. Gotham City PD soon got involved, the corruption of Gotham was revealed. TheJoker wasn’t done. Baked within cakes lay mobile phones, a constant connection to the Joker.
    57. 57. After Heath Ledger’s death, the focus went to Harvey Dent and his efforts were doubled. New recruits and old spread the message of Harvey Dent, here to clean up Gotham.
    58. 58. Men on the street wasn’t enough, the campaign trail went nationwide.
    59. 59. The Joker was far from done. Packages placed around the country revealed his plan.
    60. 60. The puzzles and clues continued. The latest Dark Knight trailer cruelly defaced.
    61. 61. The campaign was a huge success, over 10m took part across 75 countries. The Dark Knight ARG is regarded as the most immersive campaign ever.
    62. 62. Community Results Google Results Blogs 2,870,000792,104 Flickr YouTube 16,102 7 Videos 700,652 views
    63. 63. Those who believe in change believe in Batman. Hundreds gathered, only to be once again beaten by the Joker. He had finally had the last laugh.
    64. 64. Based on the Halo storyline, a campaign is launched to build excitement and interest in the run up to the launch of Halo 2.
    65. 65. Other brands are doing it too...... Most Interesting Man scavenger Microsoft The hunt Vanishing Point Reebok Secret McDonald’s The Lewis Secret Ring
    66. 66. Burger King Tender Crisp Bacon Cheddar adDarius Rucker/Hootie & the Blowfish And heaped with loads of other cultural references David La Chapelle Brooke Burke Big Rock Candy Moutain
    67. 67. Encouraging community & conversation in all audiences
    68. 68. This is not something new to AMV
    69. 69. TOOLS
    70. 70. Advertisers Redefining their relationships Consumers The role for agencies is to facilitate and nurture these relationships.
    71. 71. Becoming better transmedia storytellersx Moving from campaigns to conversationsx Thinking for communityx Encouraging conversation & content creationx Understanding some key principlesx Learning to build a Transmedia worldx Partners who can help
    73. 73. Look through the lens of community Think like a community organiser. Are we helping a community to form?
    74. 74. The 4C’s of Communityx Comment – the initial start of involvementx Conversation – comment explodes into exchangex Content - conversations spawns creationx Commitment – communities make shit happen
    75. 75. Some key principles1. Spreadability vs Drillability2. Immersion vs Extractability3. Worldbuilding4. Seriality5. Blur the line between reality and fiction6. Performance
    76. 76. 1. Spreadability vs Drillability Multi-faceted, multi-platformed content Singular shareable concept that encourages further exploration & subsequent sharing
    77. 77. 2. Immersion vs. Extractability
    78. 78. 3. World building Fans want to map out as much of this ‘world’ as possible.
    79. 79. 4. Seriality Significant moments & meaning may not be linear but across multiple media systems.
    80. 80. 5. Blur the line between reality and fiction Indirect content & experiences (mock websites) are part of the illusion of reality.
    81. 81. 6. Performance Fans’ actions can be integral and should be woven in as ‘performance.’
    82. 82. Learning to build transmedia worlds
    83. 83. Partners who can help
    84. 84. “Because there is a natural storytelling urge and ability in all human beings, even just a little nurturing of thisimpulse can bring about astonishing and delightful results.” —Nancy Mellon, The Art of Storytelling
    85. 85. Remember…The girl me
    86. 86. Remember…Brand You are a storymaker. consumer
    87. 87. Thank you. Any questions?