"Flynn Lives." That was the slogan of a transmedia promotional campaign, which rallied hordes of TRON fans across the country to solve numerous puzzles, uncover a lost arcade, and even stage a mock protest. The campaign was designed by 42 Entertainment, and at this year's D.I.C.E. Summit, chief creative officer Alex Lieu explained what it was all about. The concept behind a transmedia campaign shares a lot in common with an alternate-reality game. Both weave intricate mysteries that are told through YouTube videos, Twitter posts, and other forms of social media.
When done correctly, a transmedia campaign can ignite a strong viral movement for your product. With its TRON campaign, 42 Entertainment started by sending out mock Flynn's Arcade tokens and USB drives to selected TRON fans. These individuals discovered the first piece of the campaign's puzzle on the USB drives, posted about it online, and solicited help from others. Eventually, this led to a massive scavenger hunt during Comic-Con that ended in uncovering a replica of Flynn's Arcade. The experience made a strong, positive impression on a lot of people, who then spread the word around the Internet.
Because it only targets a small (but extreme passionate) audience, transmedia campaigns will not likely supplant traditional advertising methods. However, they're still a powerful marketing tool with immense potential.
The D.I.C.E. Summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) is a once yearly conference dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment. It is organized by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and hosts the annual Interactive Achievement Awards, which celebrate the best games of the past year, as voted by AIAS members. Comedian Jay Mohr will return to host the awards show, which takes place on February 9.
For more, check out GameSpot's coverage page, which will feature full video of every panel and keynote address from the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit.