The second project, Prometheus, only complies partly with Jenkins’ working definition of transmedia storytelling, insofar as it is “world-building” over at least three media platforms and enables audience interaction (Jenkins 2008).
However it feeds only into one storyline and builds it up: the film plot. Therefore it clearly differs in an important part from Jenkins’ definition, who states: “Each platform entry needs to be self-contained so you don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy the game, and vice versa” (Jenkins 2008). But does this difference make it not worth of the definition transmedia?
Prometheus includes a science fiction film created by Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox, released 2012 and a ground-breaking transmedia marketing campaign that started months before the actual film release by “leaking” information and parts of the story that expanded the narrative, over different media platforms, as e.g. a fictional company website located within the narrative of the film, real life actions (business cards that were handed out and lead to the fictional company), a series of possibilities of interaction with the website within the narrative, a twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account, as well as several YouTube videos that expanded characters and narrative and that were placed on real life websites, like for example TEDtalk (Ignition 2012).
The project’s main focus was clearly on creating “buzz” around the film, grabbing the audience’s attention and engaging them until the film release and beyond, as future sequels are planned and will be able to reconnect with the narrative whenever needed, as new clues have already been leaked at the end of the film (Gordon 2012).
The project challenged the audience and enhanced participation and interaction within the narrative in different ways like the hand out of business cards, which contained a number that could be called by fans in order to receive further insight information through special videos or clues on posted ads that led viewers to the company site, where they could register as an investor in the secret project Prometheus and many more.
In sum, proactive audience members were rewarded by getting deeper knowledge and understanding of the story, expectation was created and maintained through immersion into this new world.
However, a deeper participation like the creation of other narratives or a direct influence on the story was not possible. The project was mainly based on discovering an already created world.
The transmedia property design fits very well into the style of the content. It actually provides more detail about the backstory, deepens the content and uses the same elements than the film.
All mentioned platforms worked within or from the viewpoint of the narrative, apart from Facebook and Twitter, which had a “hybrid” approach, intending on one hand to be part of the narrative by giving clues and addressing the audience from within the story framework, but on the other hand being used as a commercial channel to sell merchandise or to provide actual information about the film itself as a product, which killed a little bit the magic of it all.
In conclusion, Prometheus only fits partly into Jenkins’ working definition, confirming, as mentioned in the introduction, that the existence of a clear and exclusive working definition for transmedia is questionable. Particulary here “the marketing of the story becomes an extension of the story itself” (Gomez 2012).
Ignition (2012) Prometheus Transmedia Campaign – Vimeo Channel [Online Available] http://vimeo.com/52252122 [Accessed 3rd December 2012].
TED (2012) Already watch a tedtalk from the future. Blog. [Online Available] http://blog.ted.com/2012/06/08/is-it-2023-already-watch-a-tedtalk-from-the-future/ [Accessed 4th December 2012].
Barber, Jeff (2012) The role of mobile in the transmedia storytelling of Prometheus. Blog. [Online Available] http://mobiletechmastery.com/2012/04/01/the-role-of-mobile-in-the-transmedia-storytelling-of-prometheus/ [Accessed 4th December 2012].
Gomez, Jeff (2012) In Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus,’ the Advertising Is Part of the Picture. Ad Age Digital, March 23, 2012 [Online Available] http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/ridley-scott-s-prometheus-advertising-part-picture/233452/ [Accessed 3rd December 2012].
Jenkins, Henry (2008) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.
Gordon, Derek (2012) Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ Highlights Use Of Transmedia. The Daily Casserole. Blog. [Online Available] http://www.dailycasserole.com/2012/03/23/ridley-scotts-prometheus-highlights-use-transmedia/ [Accessed 3rd December 2012].