All posts in “coca cola”

Transmedia Storytelling: It’s Not Only for Fiction

James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

Follow @jamescooper

As part of Social Media Week Toronto last month, SMG hosted Social Media Group Spark, during which five colleagues and I were each given 5 minutes to inspire our audience on a social media topic of our choice.

I took the opportunity to talk about the emerging trend of “transmedia storytelling”.

What is transmedia storytelling?

social media group

Image: The Matrix

Also known as “multiplatform storytelling”, it’s storytelling across multiple platforms and formats using digital technologies. It’s not to be confused with “multimedia”, which is content presented in a combination of different media forms. Transmedia storytelling focuses on the narrative and the experience. Whereas, multimedia, puts emphasis on the technology and the content.

The Matrix franchise is a classic example of transmedia storytelling. It’s fictional storyworld is constructed across films, animation, video games, a massively multi-player online role playing game (MMPORG), a graphic novel and a series of comics. Each platform enriches and adds nuances to the over arching storyline.

So what? Why does transmedia storytelling matter?

It matters because, as humans, we love stories. We love to tell stories. We love to hear stories. We love the experience that is created by a really great story. Marketers have an opportunity to immerse their audience in a brand experience that follows a story and engages the audience across multiple media platforms.

I recently encountered a great example of transmedia stortelling on History Television. Battle Castle, a new show which premieres on March 15, “brings to life mighty medieval fortifications and the sieges they resist: clashes that defy the limits of military technology and turn empires to dust.”

screenshot of Battle Castle landing page


The Battle Castle “action documentary” — which is a collaboration between New York-based Starlight Runner and two Canadian companies, Parallax Film Productions and Agentic Communications —  is enriched across web games, virtual castle tours, social media channels, and 3D-ready content both online and for broadcast TV. Each of these platforms creates a unique entry point into the medieval world that is Battle Castle.

Unlike billion-dollar transmedia franchises, such as The Matrix, Harry Potter and Star Wars, which create fictional universes, Battle Castle’s documentary format is largely based on historically accurate information. I think this sets an example for other transmedia storytellers who wish to explore the realm of non-fiction.

Now what? What should marketers do with transmedia storytelling?

We’re living in an age of blurring lines between media. As this happens, it’s becoming less a question of whether or not marketers should consider using transmedia storytelling and more a question of when they should act on it.

As we’ve seen, there are many examples of transmedia’s natural fit in the entertainment industry. There are also many examples of transmedia use in the extended B2C market, such as Coke’s Happiness Factory, Mattel’s “Should Barbie take Ken back?” and Dos Equis’Most Interesting Man in the World”. But does transmedia work in B2B?

I think it’s safe to assume that most B2B marketers would consider the thought of creating a fictional storyworld around their brand — full of faeries and other mystical beings — to be brand suicide. But, if there’s a lesson to be learned from Battle Castle, it’s that transmedia is not strictly for fictional storytelling. In some B2B industries, marketers may have an exciting opportunity to approach transmedia storytelling as documentarians.

What do you think? Does transmedia storytelling have the potential to become the status quo? Does it apply to B2B or is it only suitable for B2C marketing?

Watch the full video of my talk:

Facebook: All Your Eyeballs Are Belong To Us!

Remember how we told you it was time to stop building microsites, think like a broadcaster and build channel? Well, big brands have been doing that very successfully. In fact, according to this article in AdAge, in many cases branded sites are being completely eclipsed by “owned” social media:

“Coca-Cola, with its 10.7 million Facebook fans, has three to four times… [the number of] Foursquare registered users. (There are at least 11 brands whose Facebook fan pages have quietly grown bigger than the biggest geo-location providers.) That certainly trumps U.S. unique visitors to Coke’s brand website, which fell by more than 40% to 242,000 in July compared to a year ago, per Compete.”

Of course the only problem is those eyeballs are not portable. They effectively belong to Facebook, no matter that Coke and others have spent millions in media dollars on the platform to drive membership (as they do to drive traffic to their branded sites) and the fact that those people have opted into membership on their brand page.

This of course leads to a very interesting concentration both in terms of audience (Facebook owns it) and media dollars (Facebook gets an increasing share since they deliver it to the right people – and measure the results). Pretty much a win-win for Facebook… but something that brands, accustomed to simply signing cheques, rather than helping shape the advertising platforms they’re using, need to start thinking about very seriously.

The article goes on to point out that Facebook is essentially morphing into a CRM solution – a “big list broker like Experian” – except that they are free. Of course the irony is that brands are subsidizing this new facet of the site, and if Facebook decides to change their revenue model, they could also end up paying for what they helped build.

Social Media Roundup for May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mukhtar!

A Copenhagen bus driver named Mukhtar got a big birthday surprise this year – a flash mob of almost 100 people celebrating his special day. Mukhtar was planning to take the day off for his 41st birthday but was asked to take an extra shift for a friend. A candid camera shows how his day ended with almost 100 people assembling to wish him a happy birthday.

The flash mob was part of a five week campaign undertaken by Copenhagen bus companies Movia and Arriva to promote public transportation and driver contribution.

Google TV is here

Yesterday Google, along with Sony Corp., Intel Corp. and Logitech International, announced plans to launch Google TV in the fall. Touted as “smart TV”, the TV will have many customization options to personalize content, with the main goal being to turn televisions into giant monitors for web surfing and increase ad revenue. The televisions will be sold exclusively at Best Buy, but no word yet on what the price tag will be.

Stay in touch with Facebook page rankings

If you’re looking for any sort of Facebook page ranking information, Fan Page List can connect you with the info you need. The realtime site ranks Facebook fan pages and shows how many users are being added each day. You can check out stats for a variety of categories, including products, actors, politicians and TV shows.

I checked out the brand page to get the scoop on the most popular pages as of today:

  1. Facebook
  2. Starbucks
  3. Coca Cola
  4. YouTube
  5. Disney

SMG Connects with the Web Community at mesh 2010

mesh conference, Canada’s web conference was this week in Toronto. We sponsored a pretty cool party on Tuesday, and our fearless leader Maggie Fox spoke to a packed room Wednesday afternoon about The Art & Science of Scaling Social Media. As with the best content at mesh, it certainly got people talking and was covered in posts by Matt Hartley at The Financial Post and David Brown at Marketing.

Pacman’s back!

Social Media Roundup for May 21, 2010 - Social Media Group Helps Business Navigate the Social Web._1274460750769

Pacman has resurfaced just in time for his 30th birthday and Google is celebrating in typical logo fashion. Cruise on over to the Google homepage to see the logo turn into a playable game of Pacman. Happy weekend!

Social Media Roundup for October 23, 2009

Friday already. The SMG-ers had a big week. I hope yours was cool too.

I saw this video a while back and my friend Anne shared it on Facebook today. I think we all need quick hit of adorable ahead of our weekly SMG Roundup.

Cute overload eh?

Henry Blodget at Silicon Alley Insider reported
findings from Perry Drake that Facebook now accounts for 25% of U.S. online pageviews. Wowzers.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning that Facebook announced public status updates would be searchable on Bing this week. And in a related news, Twitter has inked a deal that offers Bing and Google Search access to their public status updates (Details at TechCrunch). It makes perfect sense given the that Pew Internet and American Life Project announced this week that 19% of Internet users use status updates (via Mashable). If you want to dig deeper into this news from the world of Social Search, check out the analysis from Charline Li and Jeremiah Owyang.

Coca-Cola has opened up voting for a team of three people to visit the 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold in 365 days as the next stage in its Expedition206 campaign. The winning team goes on a global quest to find out what makes people happy and share their discoveries through the official campaign site and across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr. (via Brand Republic)

Yesterday, SMG was proud to sponsor the afterparty at meshmarketing. It was an incredible lineup of speakers, workshops and heavy-hitters from the social media scene. I’ll migrate the #followfriday meme to the SMG blog and suggest you look up some of the wonderful speakers who had great insights – @kdpaine, @esotto, @danmartell and @jquipp.

Given my Internet services background and how much we rely on Yammer for team communication here at SMG, I was interested when Yammer experienced an extended outage earlier this week. For a time, Yammer was reduced to Twitter to communicate with its customers. Given how critical Yammer has become for business, it seems like a great opportunity for Yammer to take a look at thier systems for customer communication and ensure they’ve got redundancies in place in the event of an outage. Read about it on the Yammer Blog and at The Washington Post.

Finally, we are pleased as punch that our client Ford Motor Company has won the Society for New Communications Research 2009 Fellows’ Choice Award for Brand of the Year. From the SNCR release “Brand of the Year: Ford for its innovative use of social media to improve the way the company communicates with its stakeholders”. For more on this great news, please see the Digital Snippet on Ford’s SMPR site.