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TMC Chatsfield Case Study & Interview with Alison Norrington

A Case Study & Interview with Alison Norrington on The Chatsfield, Harlequin Mills & Boon's transmedia story world extending a series of 8 novels

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TMC Chatsfield Case Study & Interview with Alison Norrington

  1. 1. The Chatsfield - Case Study & Interview with Alison Norrington Harlequin’s Transmedia Storyworld GO
  2. 2. ! The Chatsfield 1 WHAT IS IT? Harlequin Mills & Boon has launched an online story world spun off from a series of Harlequin titles, with 8 novels set in The Chatsfield, a luxury hotel in London imagined as as the destination for the swinging set the 1960s. ! Social media platforms extend the story and detail the lives of characters. ! Fans can engage through multiple entry points & can contribute their own stories expanding on existing stories or creating new ones. ! Get ready for Alison Norrington’s spin on the world of publishing & fan engagement
  3. 3. ! The Chatsfield Alison Norrington is a writer/producer, CEO, Founder & Chief Creative Director of storycentral, a London-based entertainment studio that incubates and develops ground-breaking transmedia properties with global partners in film, television, publishing and gaming. As CEO/CCO of storycentral, Alison has worked on a range of intellectual properties that are founded on robust story worlds and have genuine and relevant touch points across a host of media channels. She specializes in fan incubation and engagement, extending IP, community building through story and storyworld strategy, incubation & development. Alison is a best-selling novelist and playwright, with an MA in Creative Writing & New Media and a PhD researcher. Over her 20-year career she has worked with and consulted to Walt Disney Imagineering, FOX International, Harlequin Mills & Boon, F&W Media, Eurovision Broadcasting Union, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, First Hand Films. Alison is writer and producer of webseries The Loedown, author of 3 bestselling novels – Class Act, Look Before You Leap and Three of a Kind and creator of the first transmedia romcom Staying Single. She has also written plays A Fish & A Bonsai and Pistols at Dawn.
  4. 4. ! degrassi 1 TheKidsof Created by Linda Schuyler ! Aired originally on CBC ! The series followed the lives of a group of Elementary School children living on Degrassi Street in Toronto and ended when the kids had finished Grade 6 ! It began as a short film adapted from a children’s book, Ida Makes a Movie (1979), though the children’s book had anthropomorphic cat characters. 1979-1986
  5. 5. ! The Chatsfield 1 GENESIS SO: Alison, how did you come on board? ! AN: It began when I was called in over a year ago. Tim Cooper the Harlequin Mills & Boon MD, said “there’s a continuity series we do every year. We create a story world in house with 8 authors who each take on dimension of the story world to write a novel.” Tim wanted to know could we do something like that with more than books. ! I read the overview of the 8 novels & I could immediately see where I had opportunities to do more, something web series based as Harlequin Mills & Boon expressed a keen interest in webseries/TV episodes...There were two characters in the existing book series story world, Adam Brightman & Jesse (exec. PA) then we introduced two new characters, Ally the Chambermaid and Daniel Northman, our murder mystery character. So we had 4 to play with. I didn’t want to push more than 4 – at least not for Season 01. ! We knew the murder mystery story very tightly, Rob Pratten (Conducttr) worked with us & wrote the mystery story. We then had authors & in house editors working together on the Ally and Daniel stories, and we had Jessie’s story. Jessie is the eyes and ears of the hotel. She sees everything so she’s a great person to put at the centre, but she needed a story.
  6. 6. ! degrassi 1 TheKidsof Created by Linda Schuyler ! Aired originally on CBC ! The series followed the lives of a group of Elementary School children living on Degrassi Street in Toronto and ended when the kids had finished Grade 6 ! It began as a short film adapted from a children’s book, Ida Makes a Movie (1979), though the children’s book had anthropomorphic cat characters. MULTIPLE ENTRY POINTS
  7. 7. ! The Chatsfield 2 GENESIS AN: The initial strategic work was built on detailed synopsis for the 8 books but as the full manuscripts were delivered and I realized they all had ‘happy ever afters’ it was clear we needed a rethink. It’s a closed storyworld to an extent, but the Harlequin Mills & Boon promise is HEA. ! Question #1 was then how do you expand this if the stories are all locked down and finished – the HEA suggests little conflict – only in matters of the heart – and I didn’t feel it was strong enough or intriguing enough to offer deep levels of immersion or interaction... I’d conducted the original strategy work in September 2013 and it was late November when the manuscripts came in and we realized we had the HEA problem. ! Coupled with a definite launch date of the 1 st book for May 2014. Panic Time! We knew we needed to amplify the online characters. happy ever afters
  8. 8. ! The Chatsfield 3 GENESIS AN: Now usually It takes me a year from a seed of an idea to being able to write. I need that time to get to know all of my characters, the layers and all that goes there. However, I had an earlier project, Staying Single, from 2006 that I’d created for my MA in Creative Writing and New Media. ! I’d already written three bestselling books & was writing my 4th about a woman trying to stay single. The Staying Single story propelled my character into celebrity-dom, she ended up on talk shows, breakfast shows. All these guys are after her. Yet, then she can’t tell if they’re really like her, or if it’s just an ego thing, if it’s the challenge of getting her to break from being single… ! So I pulled out my Staying Single story, shifted it. I had the premise and the character and I knew how she would react. I really need to know my characters. story / themes
  9. 9. ! The Chatsfield 1 RESEARCH ! AN: As part of researching Jessie, I joined two dating sites. I didn’t put my picture up but I used a lot of my experience as part of the research for Jessie. ! SO: With Jessie on actual dating sites - is Jessie getting responses from real people? ! AN: Yes she is! partnered with us and we worked with them to write some emails to Jessie so that they appear in her inbox (which serves as brand awareness for too. To avoid some random woman receiving emails from Jessie’s fans I secure her user name JustJess29. I’ve noticed in the last few weeks she’s been getting a lot more attention. ! I made up a dating site as a spoof,, and I deliberately wrote the emails tongue in cheek, so there have been a few people interacting with her on MeetYourMate. platform: dating sites
  10. 10. ! The Chatsfield 2 RESEARCH AN: I like to put a lot of things out there, plant a lot of seeds & see what fans like. With the way we designed it, Jessie gets a lot of emails and a lot people are interacting with her through Facebook messages. A lot of messages are from guys, they don’t want to post on her wall because they don’t want to be seen, so they message her privately. So that’s quite a challenging task! ! Sheena Bhattessa, the actress we cast as Jessie for our 4-day shoot, was fabulous! Apart from being gorgeous and great to work with she comes as very down to earth, intelligent, well- educated & self-deprecating. I think there’s something about that mix that guys really like. They all want to rescue her. Jessie has a lot of private Facebook messages, along the lines of, ‘let’s just run away together, reach for the stars & never look back.’ ! I’m trying to keep it all on track as I learned the hard way from my Singles Project that I did for my MA degree, where there were guys who sent the most bizarre emails. One guy sent a message that he’d bought two tickets to Venice one with my character’s name on it and he wanted to know ‘when are we going?’ avid fans!
  11. 11. ! The Chatsfield 1 TARGET AUDIENCE AN: I was quite strategic in my plan to offer levels of immersion, for people who want to watch passively for a few minutes to people who want to dive right in. So the tapestry is quite vast. Having said that, our audience was always going to be quite fragmented. We defined the median age of the Harlequin fan as 45-47. We knew they enjoyed reading on ebooks and devices. They’ve got that functionality in hand, so we picked up on that in our design and the murder mystery targets that age group. We wanted to dig into a James Patterson style of clue finding to make engagement quite easy, and the barriers are quite low. ! You simply have to send an email to Jessie, saying ‘I’ll spy for you.’ There’s a series of other ways you can interact with the characters on the web and on mobile. That was our push out of the comfort zone for the traditional older audience ! Our older audience is concentrated in the channels we’re talking to them in, checking in to The Chatsfield, then picking up on the Murder Mystery, following & responding to back and forth of the emails. We’ve also been looking at what we can take out to get them to the end quicker. older audience
  12. 12. The Loedown: web series, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter
  13. 13. ! The Chatsfield 2 TARGET AUDIENCE AN: Harlequin Mills and Boon also wanted to look at a younger audience, an 18-29 age group, which worked with one of their imprints, MIRA. With the Loedown, fans help Jessie on her quest, and keep her on track. We designed short chunks of video for the Loedown that are broadcast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. ! The audience was always going to be fragmented with a series of entry points but the main hub site,, is where you sign in, get your badges & rewards. ! It’s quite early days and we’re very much in R&D and data analysis mode. We worked with an amazing romance writer Sarah Wendell who blogs as Sarah has written the Bliss Undone story (based on an overview and story arcs that we developed in-house). ! She understands romance writing and has over 30,000 fans on Twitter, which is great too! We recently ramped up as fan feedback was strong and vocal – it was not salacious enough for the readers. We received many comments request more of a ‘naughty’ 50 Shades of Grey style of writing. younger audience
  14. 14. The Loedown: web series, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter
  15. 15. ! degrassi 1 TheKidsof Created by Linda Schuyler ! Aired originally on CBC ! The series followed the lives of a group of Elementary School children living on Degrassi Street in Toronto and ended when the kids had finished Grade 6 ! It began as a short film adapted from a children’s book, Ida Makes a Movie (1979), though the children’s book had anthropomorphic cat characters.
  16. 16. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: Our first SuperFan was in our forum space – The Chatsfield Lounge, very exited to have 625 points and have completed the murder mystery, but wasn’t sure what to do next! ! We needed a new plan – and fast. To leave our first SuperFan unrecognized would mean that she could potentially blow the cover of the murder mystery story in the first week we’d launched it. ! We devised a strategy for Superfans. Careful to use our ‘out-of- world’ voice (Harlequin Mills & Boon) she was included in The Chat (newsletter which goes out every week), she was rewarded with a gift basket with Chatsfield notebooks & cool stuff. ! Then we invited her ‘in’. SuperFans are so important and we invited her to be a Chatsfield guru. So if a player/reader is struggling with next steps for the murder mystery they approach our guru and say ‘I’ve hit a brick wall with this, what did you find?’ We’ve tried to bring all of the SuperFans on as quickly as possible as they will keep driving the experience forward. SUPER FANS fans to evangelizers
  17. 17. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: We’ve found a direct correlation between website visits and sign ups/check ins. This is great but we still find that the interactions are private. Interestingly there doesn’t seem such a desire to ‘chat’ about this on social media – the emails and messages are private to Jessie’s inbox or Facebook. That’s what I found with my Staying Single project, a lot of emails directed to my character yet they don’t want to shout it out publicly, like on a big trombone. ! I have to reply carefully & say, ‘Check out my video diary here…’ and then they’ll see what’s up. I’m trying to take them back but do it in a genuine conversational way. ! It’s a whole different thing writing for women. I don’t like to segregate yet men are reacting to different things, messaging Jessie on Facebook. ! There’s still a lot we can cover and a lot to learn. FAN ENGAGEMENT managing expectations
  18. 18. Jessie Loe Executive PA at The Chatsfield, unlucky in love, glass half full, dating expert
  19. 19. ! The Chatsfield 1 SO: Harlequin UK’s aim was to “build the audience, rather than to try to promote the books? This isn’t a marketing campaign for those books, it is about creating an environment where those stories are told differently, and by building an audience we can monetise in various different ways—including product placement. It’s a fluid process, so we’ll learn as we develop.” ! SO: What design strategies did you use to meet the project goal of building an audience?
 AN: It began with identifying core themes and topics that would be small campfires for gathering, opinions and discussion. ! From there I continue to evangelize that the triggers for interaction should be within the content - to break from old school marketing to new school conversations. PROJECT GOALS interaction triggers
  20. 20. ! The Chatsfield 2 AN: The triggers to interaction are embedded in the content: ! The list of 24 romantic movies that Jessie’s friend, Katie has given her to watch during her quest. 
 Her secret admirer and the gifts and clues to follow up on. The murder mystery story & a lot of little things you discover as she’s been on seven dating sites. Jesse loves the chase, hates the catch. ! So there’s lots for fans to resonate with but also to add to within the topics and conversations ! PROJECT GOALS embedded content
  21. 21. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: What we’re seeing is a surge of traffic 300-350 views for each Loedown video within 2-3 days of them going live. Coming into week 7, about half way through I can see that people are going back to the beginning. Earlier videos are picking up more views as new viewers go back to the first one to watch for the context, What you can see is a tidal wave effect as viewership builds. ! The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has demonstrated that it takes time for that movement to happen and to build. So we’re not jumping straight into new content after Aug 1, as we want to see how this pans out. ! There are a lot of guys liking her page on FB. Some are really genuine. ! I hadn’t expected that to happen. There are a lot who are really connecting with it being a story, saying I’m glad you’ve left the dating sites, and you’ve got to value yourself. And then there’s those who have the ‘let’s run away stuff’ And quite a few poems… (laughs) TRAFFIC building views
  22. 22. Jessie Loe Executive PA at The Chatsfield, unlucky in love, glass half full, dating expert
  23. 23. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: There are two things I was concerned with from the start. 1. engaging fans prior to launch as we had real time constraints. We did reach out to HQ’s fan base as they have 1.6 mill fans on Google +. 2. I’m concerned about the hard stop on Aug 1 when the delivery of new The Chatsfield content will end. ! We’ve created a cliffhanger as there are 4 people Jessie could be with and I’ve extended the social media beyond Aug 1. So my major concerns have been with the runway & the exit strategy & I’m still concerned. However, the ground we’ve covered in R & D For Harlequin is huge. Next time round, we could be much more swiftly on point & focused much more tightly. ! We’ve got great analysis. The Conducttr platform is brilliant for understanding what’s working & what’s not. The inbox was designed by BTL & the engine behind it is Conducttr, which is new way of operating for them, so it’s a testing time for us all. CONCERNS runway & exit strategy
  24. 24. Conducttr Pervasive Entertainment Platform
  25. 25. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: The hardest things? Time constraints, resources, budget. We have over 800 pieces of linked content. The Loedown is 39 episodes, at 1 1/2 minutes - 2 min - over an hour in total. The webseries was challenging to write – I had to keep the story on track and pacy but introduce her emails on the screen and make references to topics and threads in her inbox. ! I spent a lot of time digging into the premise of her story, her character archetype. She & Dan ultimately save each other. I’ve had to map the way the story turns, the deep intrinsic elements, and the interactive elements. I created a mini-bible just for the Loedown. Expanding Jessie’s story would be very easy to do. She has 11-15 people writing to her and I had to be very strategic with writing the emails to show different tones of voice.. ! Sometimes it’s slightly too elegant and nuanced and when she’s mad with them she might take two days to reply, and then when she’s over him, it’s instant. I had to figure out the triggering of timing, though I think it’s lost a little bit in the inbox. CHALLENGES work with what you have
  26. 26. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: You’ve got 11 story lines in Jessie’s inbox: the storyline with her Mom, Jason her ex (always crazy), Dan, her friend Katie in New York. With all of them you find out more about Jessie. ! I’d like to put these together in sequence & publish these as a book. Then you have a physical artifact that could drive people back to Jessie’s online inbox - they could read the book and watch the Loedown. You can always check out the inbox for Jesse. ! I’m writing a report on things that can be improved, things we missed the point with and things we were totally on point and we need to amplify further. Come August I may be able to share more with you! there are a lot of learnings. ! In my experience writing for a female audience, they’re tough cookies! ! If you create content and they think you’re wasting their time and just trying to get their eyeballs, they take no prisoners. But if you’re genuine, with a female audience especially, and you’re open about what you’re trying to do & where you think your failing, there are a lot of learnings: turn up the volume on some of it, and down on others, as you get a lot of response. create a book of season 1 FUTURE EXTENSIONS
  27. 27. ! degrassi 1 TheKidsof Jessie Loe’s Inbox Multiple characters & story lines
  28. 28. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: Dan & Jessie’s relationship is key, there’s such a lot of resonance with their exchanges as he really plays cat and mouse with her in the first half of the story, then she finds out he’s got this horrible thing in his past, and he’s desperate, sad, & looking for revenge. Her sister died, took an overdose 10 years ago in a nightclub in NY and she’s been through the revenge/justice thing. There’s the moment when she realizes that he’s not really a barman, he’s here in the hotel to catch someone in the hotel who was responsible for a death… the power shift then changes ! At the end with the murder mystery story, we’ll see whether the audience wants him to go for revenge or justice. It’s an open ending & we can spin it either way. Something happens at the end that can be quite responsive to the audience’s wish. With a female fan base you think they’ll go for justice. ! Jessie advocates for justice, she advocates for that revenge feels better but it’s a short term fix. Whereas justice, you can live with that because, you’ve done what’s right and what happens to the person after that is out of your hands.I was expecting the female audience to go for that but I’m starting to think they won’t. They’re getting their claws out and they want revenge! MURDER MYSTERY let fans decide the outcome
  29. 29. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: This project is a very interesting study as to what people are connecting with. Some of the short stories around The Chatsfield's 8 books have come as offshoots that were written within the Loedown, In one of the early episodes Jason, her ex, goes out of his room and then goes into the wrong room with a couple in bed and gets into bed with them and it’s chaos. He’s an absolute klutz & everything goes wrong wherever he goes. ! Harlequin had the vision to reach out to some of their other authors to write short stories. There’s one that tells the story with the couple in the bed who just got engaged and another with a guest who leaves a suitcase full of S & M gear in a wardrobe. I love the fact that Harlequin Mills & Boon is looking for these opportunities and they’re the things they really do best. ! So what I’m trying to do is embed a new way of thinking, though putting this into actionable things as a new way of thinking is quite easy. Developing in house resources that aren’t traditionally there. That’s a bit of a learning curve and I’ve come so far with it now. They’ve got it all there, so it’s just learning how to use it a bit more. STORY EXTENSIONS multiple authors / new stories
  30. 30. ! The Chatsfield 2 SO: Here we have, Harlequin, whom some might see as the least likely studio/producer/producer, suddenly at the cutting edge of transmedia, working with multiple authors creating content around story worlds & extended content. Can you access these stories through the Chatsfield site? ! AN: You can access Chatsfield books through the Quick Book link, which was intended to suggest booking a room, but really zips you across to buying the books! There are a series of fabulous short stories all available on Amazon. One of my favourites is this one – The Real Adam Brightman - - totally gives a flip on everything you thought you knew about the man. The majority of them directly tie in with rooms and stories from The Loedown, Jessie’s Inbox or the Chatsfield book series. ! SO - Clearly, this seems to open up fan fiction possibilities. ! AN: I’m trying to encourage that with Harlequin Mills & Boon. I’m convinced a large sector of their audience are wanna be writers of romance fiction. That’s something I’d love to expand in the next season. And we’ve started to see that people are starting to share their hotel stories in the Lounge. STORY EXTENSIONS harlequin & fan fiction (of course)
  31. 31. The Lounge Discussion Hub & Fan Story Sharing Video Uploads Powered by Theatrics
  32. 32. ! The Chatsfield 1 SO: Can you talk about The Chatsfield Lounge where readers can contribute their own stories and hotel adventures? I understand it’s powered by the Theatrics video storytelling platform & can sync with Conductrr via API. ! AN: I’d been speaking with Nick DeMartino about Theatrics integration for some time. I’d researched what had been done with Welcome to Sanditon vs Beckinfield (and other Theatrics powered hubs) and could see some value in amplifying community behaviours. However we struggled with The Lounge a little as I suspected Harlequin Mills & Boon fans woudln’t want to share video of themselves. That they’d be sitting at home, having a glass of wine, or on the train, immersed in the story world, and they wouldn’t want to turn the camera on themselves. I felt very strong that fan generated video wouldn’t work. ! The Lounge is really the hub for interaction and we struggled to let fans see that they should treat this space as they would a Starbucks or a hotel lobby. ! Once the fans arrived and looked around we could see them starting to talk and share their love/hotel stories. It’s an entirely new facility for these fans that aren’t used to really talking to or meeting each other, but I’d love to develop these ‘friendships’ and behaviours FAN CREATED CONTENT theatrics platform: the lounge
  33. 33. Theatrics Video Communication Platform
  34. 34. ! The Chatsfield 2 AN: We did want to open up the portion for them to create stories and characters. And we’re starting to see this in the Lounge where they’re sharing their own hotel stories. I want to encourage this, though it needs to be managed properly. I worked a few years ago with Penguin on the Million Penguins Wiki and it was absolute chaos! There wasn’t a clear call to action, not enough rules, everybody wanted to be famous. It was a mess. So to open it up to fans of Harlequin, we need to be quite clear, have a core team of characters and ask them to run with them. ! SO: It seems that The Lounge can really work to cultivate new writers based on fan response if Harlequin Mills & Boon are into it. Fans get so excited when they can become a recognized author. ! AN: Yes, and then they can be heard. Just sending in a DM to Jessie on Twitter, saying, ‘I’d really like to do a story about you and me doing this…’ That’s what it’s all about. Now that I’m focusing on the Lounge, I really want to pull in the conversations that are happening there theatrics platform: the lounge FAN CREATED CONTENT
  35. 35. ! The Chatsfield 3 AN: Right at the beginning when I asked Robert Pratten to come in with Conducttr & Nick DeMartino with his Theatrics team, I’d mapped a user- journey as a figure of 8. 
 The Lounge (Theatrics) is the hub, the centre where everybody congregates, then through discussions fans would have about the characters or the murder mystery, they would go out with their devices, texting Jessie, calling her phone & getting messages or emails back that gave them additional information. Then they return to the hub and share their findings. Conducttr is working on a personal 1:1 dialogue,whereas the Lounge is more about fan discussions. ! We debated whether fans would be in-world or out-of-world, characters in the hotel or talking about the Chatsfield. We realized that the creation of new characters could impact severely on the murder mystery story, so for this instance we decided against it. ! So we made the Lounge like a real coffee lounge in a hotel; somewhere where the guests would sit and chat about what they’ve seen or found. The way that Theatrics & Conducttr work together is quite fantastic. - together they make the figure of eight. You have a solo experience or you can share. platforms: conducttr & theatrics DELIVERY
  36. 36. ! The Chatsfield 4 SO: You used Conducttr as transmedia delivery platform. What content is being delivered by Conducttr? ! AN: Conducttr is powering the inbox and emails, texts, voice messages and social media posts from the key characters. Content is scheduled for publication from the various characters in many conversation threads. ! SO: How much is automated & how much is live in terms of character response? For example, Jesse’s inbox provides an ongoing narrative of what is happening with her & her interactions with key friends & associates. ! AN: To a degree it’s automated, but I’m running Jessie’s social media and if we’re watching the interactions so that we can dive in if necessary. To say they’re automated takes the heart of it a little and we worked hard with Conducttr to create a tapestry of scenarios and responses so that it doesn’t feel soulless and automated. ! We want our characters to be responsive and conversational. To a certain degree following story lines with the inbox & the script for The Loedown allowed us to preempt but I haven’t used Conducttr so much for real- time responses. It’s a balance. platforms: conducttr & theatrics DELIVERY
  37. 37. ! The Chatsfield 5 AN: We were careful to write a series of automated responses for Jessie that depended on key words so if they used certain terminology in the subject line, for example, they could get 8-12 different responses from Jessie. ! There are quite a number of characters involved in the murder mystery, so they could get responses from back from Ally & maybe 4-5 different Spanish people involved. ! The Daniel Northman responses are a bit more one-dimensional really, just to have a bit of back & forth. With the murder mystery, there’s so much you can automate as those drive the story on. platforms: conducttr & theatrics DELIVERY
  38. 38. ! The Chatsfield 6 SO: What is ‘the Bond folder’? it’s described as ‘content that’s personalized to each individual based on how they make progress through a multiplatform interactive mystery.’ ! AN: Once you’ve registered at the hotel, you can dig into the Bond folder, and you find more people to interact with. Their responses are progressive & these also take you through the story. ! However, I’m really not a fan of automated responses. People are so savvy, they know they’re automated. With more bells & whistles, people go ‘what the hell! who cares?’ We were quite careful to avoid that. ! But we did realize the more luddite fans of Harlequin Mills & Boon, really liked the fact that they got something back, but they didn’t need to reply or do something back. They liked the fact that Daniel N replied but they didn’t need to carry on talking with him. The novelty factor worked fro them We made a conscious decision. platforms: conducttr AUTOMATED DELIVERY
  39. 39. ! degrassi 1 TheKidsof Created by Linda Schuyler ! Aired originally on CBC ! The series followed the lives of a group of Elementary School children living on Degrassi Street in Toronto and ended when the kids had finished Grade 6 ! It began as a short film adapted from a children’s book, Ida Makes a Movie (1979), though the children’s book had anthropomorphic cat characters. JESSIE’S OFFICE INTERACTIVE ONLINE SPACES AS POINTS OF ENTRY
  40. 40. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: I found, though, was that there was no ‘out- of-world,’ no place for Harlequin to generate anything around the project. They can’t do that in the Lounge, and I missed that. ! Now I’m encouraging fans to use Google+ as the place they can be really really proud of what they’ve done, to share their badges and points. You don’t have to engage with the murder mystery to win badges, by clicking on something or emailing or texting. ! There they can be really proud of The Chatsfield and share, ‘this is what we’ve done, and this is how you win badges.’ We needed this as I hadn’t built that out- of-world space. It’s quite critical. ‘out-of-world’ hub FAN HUB
  41. 41. TheKidsof IN-GAME ACHIEVEMENTS
  42. 42. ! The Chatsfield 1 SO: With Harlequin Mills & Boon, as a good segment of sales will be digital, is there any physical marketing? Are bookstores a useful touch stone any more? AN: I don’t think they are. Harlequin functions very much in a digital frame & ebooks are a real driver. So there’s not much in physical spaces. Budget & resources put a cap on everything. We worked with David Varela, who has a sideline cocktail company – . He advised on and created all the recipes and the bespoke Chatsfield cocktail. We had a couple of pop up cocktail bars serving Chatsfield cocktails at events in London and BTL Brands (our design agency) created some beautiful branding for real life products. We’ve made Chatsfield notebooks, door hangers, even champagne with exclusive packaging. hotel.html We had a week of press lots of PR, was featured in Wired, The Telegraph, USA Today, Grazia and Heat magazine. In the lobbies of the media groups, we had the pop up bars, & invitations to come & check in. SO: Do teasers go out in newsletters? ! AN: There is a newsletter, The Chat, what’s coming up in the next week, what’s happened to Jessie, click on the video, and you can find out what’s happening with other characters, the cocktail of the week. traditional vs innovative MARKETING
  44. 44. ! The Chatsfield 2 AN: Harlequin Mills & Boon have a blog called Socialize. One of the challenges is to push away from traditional marketing and understand that the triggers are in the content. So I would like to have Jessie give an interview or write a blog piece for Cosmo… to say ‘this is me, I’m trying to stay single, I’ve left all these dating sites,’ and make it relevant n the real world. I’m still working on how to seed the characters in the story who are very relevant to women today out in the right channels. It’s like trying to hit a moving target all the time. ! SO: Or she could be interviewed by key bloggers? ! AN: That’s what we’re looking at. ! Thinking about the timeline it was November when we realized we couldn’t use a real story, we had to create new characters, we did a 4 day shoot in Feb. Then we had to be ready to go live with the testing by first of April. There are lots of things I would like to do better. But we’re pushing through and analyzing as we go. It will be much easier to launch a Season 2. traditional vs innovative MARKETING
  45. 45. ! The Chatsfield 1 SO: How big is the team? ! AN: The project was led initially by Tim Cooper MD, then
 passed to Jo Kite, marketing manager. 
 I worked closely with Pippa Roscoe, a Harlequin editor on the storylines and we had social media support in Harlequin from 1 person.
 Stu Lewin and Santeri Lohi of BTL Brands handled all of the design and interaction hotspots on the website. We had Robert Pratten and Natalie Rios from Conducttr and a team from Theatrics. 3 writers collaborated with me on the back & forth of emails and we had a team of 2 from ElektrikZoo for the shoot. Jo, the marketing manager & I, were joint project managers. She knew the Harlequin business model & she had access to information I didn’t. 
 There were times where Jo took on the bigger role, and then there were times with the strategy, story, audience and management that I took on that. We worked together quite tightly in-house with maybe 3-4 people. They all had other jobs to do, and my contract began as 16 hours a week! the team ROLES
  46. 46. ! The Chatsfield 1 AN: None of us expected it to explode when it went live – there was a lot that we just couldn’t preempt. For example, I never expected to write the content as initially the storylines were hinged to the novels. I wrote The Loedown 3 weeks before the shoot! I had storylines for the email threads and mini stories mapped out but I needed more writers.I needed some surprise interactions and responses to Jessie’s dilemmas. 
 I’d love to pull in more writers from Harlequin. There are a few I spoke with who really loved it and got it. Melanie Milburn was fantastic. The writer I worked with for the Dan Northman story was skeptical at first but soon loved writing in this responsive style. I’d write her an email from Jessie, give her direction as to a response (i.e., you’re really annoyed at what I’ve just said) and she’d reply in-character. ! I had the overall story arc and the A B C storylines. We knew what was driving them and where they were going. The Daniel Northman email author was giving me a hard time with her answers & I was ‘Damn, how’s Jesse going to respond to that!’ It’s a great writing exercise and makes you up your game collaborative writing INNOVATION
  47. 47. Jessie Loe on Facebook
  48. 48. ! The Chatsfield 2 AN: Writing like this really helps you with your writing style. If you’re writing in a quiet room to what you think people will like that’s one thing. Here you’re writing and responding to someone and someone’s looking at your work straight away They won’t critique you but in character they’ll just say, what did you just say? that’s a lame answer! I’d love to do more of this. ! SO: When you dig into what you’ve developed, this is deeply fascinating. ! AN: Yes I think so. As much as it’s been fun and challenging, it’s from now that it’s going to get really fascinating. Because the story has had some time to embed. ! People are starting to know that it’s there and now is the time to encourage people to step forward. The doors have been open for a while and people have been dancing around in the entrance, and now is the time to bring people in and get people writing stories in the Lounge. ! collaborative writing INNOVATION
  49. 49. ! The Chatsfield 3 AN: There was some initial uncertainty from some writers about the interactive and responsive email writing style for Jessies Inbox.. So I was very clear and said I’m going to email you in character & at the end of the email I’m going to give you a direction and as a result of this, you’re really ticked off as you have to come into work for the weekend, or you’re really playing with me and you’re not going to respond to what I’ve said.
 You’ll come back with a really cool line that makes me frustrated. So in four emails it was pinging. Really great fun, banter back & forth, parameters were set, and the story beats were there. ! That made it easy to do. That’s what I feel we need to do with fan fiction around this. Say ok, Ally is doing this…. in two weeks time she needs to go there, so bring someone in to make that happen. We need to give them kind of direction, something to work on. working with harlequin writers INNOVATION
  50. 50. ! The Chatsfield 4 AN: We had a great gal, a chick lit aficionado on twitter, and she sent me a message “I’m really loving Jessie, I really want to party with her in Adam Brightman’s suite, can I write a story about it? Can I write a blog post as if we’ve been to a party?” Now I’m completely “Yeah! He’s having a party Saturday night and Jessie’s not going to go. She says she is, but she’s not going to go. So if you can write it, fine.” So she wrote this great little short story about going to a party in Adam’s suite. This is what we want more of. This model is exactly what we need - in a hotel imagine all the people who could come in and out of that. I’m so excited! ! SO: It’s the coolest frame as you’ve got this publisher and you have this studio of writers you’ve galvanized and brought into the project and a fan base that wants to be writers working with harlequin writers INNOVATION
  51. 51. Jessie Loe on Twitter Executive PA at The Chatsfield, unlucky in love, glass half full, dating expert
  52. 52. ! The Chatsfield 5 AN: When I spoke initially with the writers on a conference call there were mixed responses. Some weren’t so sure about it being more than a book but others were very excited and responded with, ‘You mean to say he’s going to do this on a certain day and we could put it out on Facebook as if it’s really happening???’
 And then you could see this bring their work to life in real time. It was fantastic! Harlequin have some great storytellers, an erotica writer named Tiffany Reisz, and I’d love one of her characters checking into The Chatsfield and spending a few days there. ! There’s so much opportunity for cross pollinating the stories so we really need to look into it to see how it can work in future. working with harlequin writers INNOVATION
  53. 53. ! The Chatsfield 1 SO: Has Harlequin Mills & Boon explored other possibilities for monetization? Merchandising? Novels obviously - any other avenues? ! AN: We did have many conversations on branding & merchandising, The design agency, BTL Brands, co-created a portfolio of products merchandise for us, casino chips, macaroons, cufflinks, chocolate… aiming for the shop if we move into Season 2.We are looking for partners and brands - bathrobes for example. ! We want to explore a ‘make it to order’ model, starting with, if you could choose between these 5 things, have it for real, what would you like to go with best? ! Then we could go intelligently forward to have products made that fans want. We’re discussing with spa brands & others to make The Chatsfield like a lifestyle brand. Dating advice, spa experiences Make it like the ultimate 5 star hotel. There are a lot of opportunities though we need to analyze what’s gone on so far. creating brand partnerships MERCHANDIZING
  54. 54. ! degrassi 1 TheKidsof Created by Linda Schuyler ! Aired originally on CBC ! The series followed the lives of a group of Elementary School children living on Degrassi Street in Toronto and ended when the kids had finished Grade 6 ! It began as a short film adapted from a children’s book, Ida Makes a Movie (1979), though the children’s book had anthropomorphic cat characters. THE CHATSFIELD BAR INTERACTIVE ONLINE SPACES AS POINTS OF ENTRY
  55. 55. THE CHATSFIELD CASE STUDY & INTERVIEW WITH ALISON NORRINGTON is released under a NonCommercial ShareAlike Creative Commons license to be shared, remixed and expanded non-‐ commercially, as long as you credit the TMC Resource Kit, the creator of the Case Study, Dr. Siobhan O’Flynn, and license your new creations under the identical terms. ! Images from third parties retain original copyright.
  56. 56. BIG THANKS to… Alison Norrington
  57. 57. Tmcrk partners THANKS to...
  58. 58. THE CHATSFIELD CASE STUDY & INTERVIEW WITH ALISON NORRINGTON was prepared by: Dr. Siobhan O’Flynn TMC Resource Kit Get in Touch contact us