A couple of weeks ago we visited Barcamp HK 2012. It was the 3rd year in a row for us to pitch at this ad-hoc conference. Apart from our presentation (blogged here) we came up with an ad-hoc micro transmedia campaign. Here is what we did and how it worked out (…sort of):
July 14, 2012 – 10:45am
Before the 1st session kicked off we were standing in front of the job wall and joked that there was a devil-is-collecting-souls post missing. Since it was a funny idea and a stupid one too – actually far too stupid to be ignored – we turned it into reality. So, Diogo set up a hellish gmail address (Bielzebub Apprentice firstname.lastname@example.org) and put this post up on the board. The devil drawing was contributed by the vicious comic artist Jason Li.
At this point we didn’t really knew where to take this idea but we figured something out along the way eventually. However, core motivation was to see whether and who reacts on this. Are people willing to interact with something that they don’t know and by following clues eventually find out what it is all about? Hopes were high, since it was Barcamp after all. A conference filled with young, energetic creative people with an interest in technology and build-in entrepreneur’s spirit. So what can possibly go wrong?
…The short answer right away: EVERTHING!
July 14, 2012 – 1:30pm
By lunchtime we decided, whoever is bold enough to send al reply to the soul collection mailbox will get an exclusive access to watch our just recently completed fictional short film “Haexagon” which was not publicly screened at that time. Hence, the rewards were grand, only, no one knew about it.
And there it was, our first (and ultimately only) soul arrived in Bielzebub Apprentice’s inbox. I consider it as important to name the brave and adventurous soul and hope he’ll read this post in order to collect his depths: Andrew Tipton.
July 14, 2012 – 3:00pm
I started my presentation on why transmedia seems to be doomed in HK and what we could do to release it from the devil’s tight grip in order to raise it up into the light of HK’s entertainment industry. Unfortunately the presentation saw only a few interested attendees. Most had been lured away by the lascivious temptations of free frozen yoghurtgiveaways in the venue’s lobby.
There have been a couple of tweets on the job wall post like this one but no further interaction or significant word-of-mouth.
July 17, 2012 – 11:00pm
We waited two more days to see whether there are more souls arriving but Andrew’s remained the one and only. Nonetheless, we decided to move forward and sent him this coded message:
y0ur soul has no price for the dark L0rd.
you’ll have to earn your plaCe next to his side.
if you really are willing, 6e aware(.)
all those who aren’t – the cORporation has already taken over.
talk throuGh the gates of hell, repent… and he will reconsider.
Can you decipher the message with the instruction for the next step, sort of a call to action? Yes, no wait. Really? Cold …warm …warmer…no cold again!
Basically it gives you this URL: 00c6.org. This is simply the project page to “Haexagon”. On top, the email text would ask you to drop another message via this page’s contact form. When receiving this message we would have emailed Andrew and any other soul the exclusive direct streaming link to the film. Sadly, no one ever made it that far.
Of course, all this was ad-hoc and improvised but nonetheless a good test run. That it failed miserably was neither a surprise nor a big deal. It is said, the power of transmedia is drawn from the inherent urge of humans to solve puzzles (problems) . Following clues and figuring out how things work. Obviously, this power has not been unleashed in HK yet. So we will continue to spread the word, to educate and to kick off new treasure hunts for the dark lord.
PS: Andrew, you can claim a film poster instead now, a consolation gift as exchange for your soul so to speak. How you ask? Well, figure it out…