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Summary:

Whether you liked or loathed the premiere of NBC’s The Event last night, the transmedia elements accompanying the series are super-disappointing. While there are a few sites and Twitter accounts, their level of success ranges from mildly entertaining to flat-out disjointed.

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I watched the premiere of NBC’s The Event last night. Did you? Well, at least a few million of you did, owing perhaps to NBC’s tease of a campaign that refused to explain anything about the show, “What is the Event?” being the only clue users had to go with.

However, checking in this morning on the social media accompanying the series? Disappointing. NBC is accompanying the show with some video extra features as well as some social media — but the efforts range from mildly entertaining to flat-out disjointed.

Starting with the good: Going through the Twitter messages from characters after the fact is kinda fun, especially given whomever is responsible for the social media campaign went to the trouble of making an account for relatively random characters (who may hold bigger secrets).

They’ve also done a decent job of modeling the fictional President’s Twitter account after the real Barack Obama account. And the touch of syndicating the real Twitter accounts of the cast on the NBC site is nice.

But beyond that, all that’s on the horizon for web content is some yet-to-come video “deconstructing” the show as well as two different sites: The Event is Coming and TruthSeeker. Here’s where things get annoying.

TruthSeeker is a so-far unutilized blog and Twitter account promising to reveal secrets from within the Martinez administration; creator Nick Wauters told TV Squad that the character behind TruthSeeker is a character who appeared in the pilot, and whose identity will be revealed at a later date. That’s fine — but on the night of the premiere, there’s only one blog entry and three pretty weak Twitter updates. Anyone hoping for real substantive content will find themselves disappointed.

Meanwhile, The Event is Coming is an incoherent hodgepodge of blog entries from the show’s producers and “in-game” news articles about President Martinez and his campaign. The News section is particularly disastrous. While there are one or two interesting clues to be found here — if you dig a little, for example, you’ll find out that the Alaskan detention facility was originally built in 1944 — there’s no narrative logic to the site, no justification for why this data is available alongside musings from the show’s producer.

Overall, looking at what’s in place so far is disappointing when compared to the eight different social media components that ABC’s FlashForward launched with last year, some of which represented truly inspired and engaging interactivity. In fact, with so many good examples of transmedia campaigns built to support mainstream properties, there’s almost something offensive about how artless this is.

Then again, FlashForward got canceled, and it’s a bit early to give up on the show (if only because — spoilers! — I do want to know what happened to that airplane). So we’ll just have to see how things evolve.

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Monetizing the Social Web Isn’t One Size Fits All

  1. I didn’t watch it because I assumed it would be a reality TV event. Still not sure that I have much interest after reading your article. I know that all the secrecy was supposed to give them hype, but by not letting people know what type of program it is, they missed out on a lot of people who may have been interested otherwise. I could see how these kinds of teaser campaigns might be successful, but it seems like they work better when you’re waiting for a twist on a show that you’re already emotionally invested in, than one that is brand new.

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  2. [...] to know what happened to that airplane). So we’ll just have to see how things evolve. …[Source] This entry was posted in airplane and tagged airplane. Bookmark the permalink. ← Bristol [...]

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  3. Maybe the social media folks can take a clue from the editor/director of the show and just keep reposting the same threads every few hours/days. Surely nobody will notice or get annoyed that that approach is a means of milking so little content.

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  4. [...] by Nick Wauters for NBC. The series premiered on September 20, 2010. In response to an article, “There’s No Mystery to The Event’s Social Media”,  I decided to further investigate the network’s use of social media to promote this new [...]

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