Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By Marija Stošić, Senior Creative Planner McCann Beograd
Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me.
– so sings Sonny Rhodes in the opening credits of the TV show Firefly, which was first aired on Fox TV in 2002/2003, but was taken off air after only one season which contained eleven episodes. By all the rules of the Universe, the story should have ended there. All of the stories about the spaceship called Serenity, about Captain Mal and the inevitable tension between him and the beautiful Inara (will they, won’t they, when will they), about the dysfunctional crew that fights against…. Well I won’t reveal anything else, but it was supposed to be left untold. Who hadn’t had the chance to see it, it’s time – go enjoy those eleven episodes, and then take a look at the tonnes of material written, shot, and programmed later on.
Because the TV show that was left for dead after only a couple of months lives on today, thanks to the consumers who have been asking for more for twelve years now, and the many types of media that make it possible for us to keep adding new chapters to the same story – through transmedia storytelling.
Transmedia storytelling means telling one story through many channels. The story is one, but it is not the same in every channel, since each channel adds its own chapter which is in itself whole, rounded and well-defined. The rules of a single channel are preserved to the max, which means that the content is not being adjusted to the channels, but it’s being made from scratch for each and every one of them.
In Hollywood, it would look something like this:
- Each episode of the TV show has its own course, but it is also a part of the bigger story taken from the main characters’ universe.
- The studio also made some film(s). Not one of them is repeating the story from the TV show, nor is it necessary to see the TV show prior to seeing the film(s).
- At the same time, an online game has been made. The game reveals, for example, the origin story of the leading characters – the information that cannot be found either in the movie, or in the TV show.
- The book has been written, or a graphic novel perhaps, about the leading character and the part of his life that we haven’t seen before. The story is once again rounded, and it doesn’t matter if you have seen the show, the movie, or played the game before reading it.
- Also, an application which is available for the cell phones makes it possible for the fans to become a part of the universe, and interact amongst themselves.
Transmedia storytelling is thus growing organically, from our ways of consuming content. From how and when we read/listen/understand/tell stories, from the plethora of available media, from our multidimensionality, from the desire to find out more, to hear the ending, because we care about the story.
And thus comes the connection to, and the perspective for this kind of storytelling for the advertising industry. It is important for us to understand the following: the content is not the king. The only king is the client/buyer/consumer/… THE HUMAN BEING.
A brand exists because of them, the content is being created for them, for how they consume it.
Transmedia storytelling is not a mere 360° campaign. Transmedia storytelling demands content to be created specifically for television, or Youtube, demands that Facebook has its own campaign, and that the radio receives its own little radio-drama. It demands each channel to tell its own, different chapter of a bigger story.
Among the best international examples of transmedia is surely Coca-Cola and the masterful campaign from a few years ago – Happiness Factory. The story about wonders happening inside a Coca-Cola vending machine had many chapters through many channels including videos, video games, applications, special online campaigns… Here, in Serbia, the campaign for Poslovi.infostud.com included using an e-book just the right way, understanding the need of the unsatisfied employees to kill their working hours boredom. Raiffeisen Bank also found an excellent way of using two sparrows – Buca and Ljupche, who carry one message on TV, and through Facebook channel are telling something different, by commenting daily events from their own bird perspective.
Buca i Ljupče are constantly interacting on Facebook with the page fans who are asking questions, giving feedback on different topics, writing some of their own impressions…. which is an excellent sign that the transmedia approach is successfull. Transmedia, remember, engages: its goal is to awaken curiosity, to make you want to know more, to be interested in the sequel. To look up the material on Youtube since you haven’t seen it on TV, to actually read a print ad, to download an application (or an e-book) because it’s useful and fun, to go to the Facebook page or elsewhere and give your own contribution to a chapter of the story.
The beginning of this very text is another example of what successful transmedia storytelling looks like. It is both very wordy and very passionate since I am, personally, a huge fan of the Firefly phenomenon, and to this day cannot get over the unresolved tension between Captain Mal and Inara.