The Hunger Games is a blockbuster. Its first weekend’s ticket sales ran to $155 million in North America; internationally, ticket sales were $59.3 million. Unlike Twilight, its nearest comparison, it has cross-gender appeal: 39 percent of its audience was male on the opening weekend. Its success has provided Lionsgate with a much-needed shot in the arm; movies two and three are highly anticipated.
Its marketing campaign, too, has gotten plenty of good press. The New York Times wrote a breathless article about the marketing team: the “slow internet burn” they created, the sweepstakes to bring fans only (no press!) to the movie’s set, the website where fans could make their own Capitol ID cards. The marketers obviously did their job in the United States; one might argue that the gap between North American and international ticket sales existed because their efforts focused on the English speaking market.
Transmedia storytellers, though, are scratching their heads. The Hunger Games team knew it was possible to create beautiful transmedia extensions for the movie. In fact, fans had already made some of those extensions, including an elaborate alternate reality game called PanemOctober. So why didn’t the Hunger Games team take advantage of this upwelling of creativity? Why didn’t they encourage it, or at least create transmedia extensions of their own? Why did they request that the creators of PanemOctober shut down their website when they didn’t seem to be interested in creating an equally immersive alternate reality experience? (They did allow fans to campaign to be elected mayor of their district of Panem; however, the initiative seemed to mostly be focused on making The Hunger Games trend on Twitter, not on encouraging people to immerse themselves in the story world of Panem.)
One commentator claims that the reason is that the marketing campaign clearly already did its job for the first movie. Any further effort would produce diminishing returns: every single person in the United States who was going to be interested in The Hunger Games is already. Rather than spending more money and effort on the English-speaking Hunger Games campaign, building transmedia extensions in service of getting more people to come see the movie, the marketers would be better off spending their time in non-English-speaking markets.
That’s a clever insight, but it doesn’t go far enough. The real problem is that the fan-made transmedia extensions for The Hunger Games are not about marketing at all. Actually, let’s extend that: good transmedia extensions are not primarily about marketing. They might have marketing as a secondary concern, but their primary concern is storytelling, providing new experiences and new pleasures in the same story world. Transmedia extensions can provide additional perspectives that are more appealing to new audiences, but they take a lot of effort to make in comparison with new billboards or posters focusing on different aspects of a story.
We can see this point in action at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando—one of the most beautifully executed transmedia extensions of all time. A non-Harry Potter fan might enjoy the Wizarding World, but nobody would think of it as a cost-effective way to create new fans. Its primary purpose is to entertain existing fans in ways that movies and books cannot: letting them experience what Butterbeer tastes like, what it feels like to ride a broom in a Quidditch match, the coolness of the dungeons and the heat of the greenhouses at Hogwarts.
Therefore, it’s ridiculous to take the Hunger Games marketing team to task for not providing transmedia experiences surrounding The Hunger Games, or for not engaging deeply with fan-made transmedia. They’re a marketing team, not a transmedia storytelling team. Transmedia storytelling was secondary to their main goal. That isn’t to say that it won’t become more important for the second and third Hunger Games movies, though. Now that everybody in the United States knows what The Hunger Games are, the marketing team will be hard-pressed to keep them excited and interested over the next several years—and that’s something that transmedia storytelling is good at.
By Flourish Klink.
The Hunger Games is a blockbuster. Its first weekend’s ticket sales ran to $155 million in North America; internationally, ticket sales were $59.3 million. Unlike Twilight, its nearest comparison, it[...]
Adorei o post!
Esse time dos Alquimistas é fora da curva! Cada post, uma lição!
Como eu sempre digo: a beleza das coisas esta na harmônia e equilíbrio e ambos estão diretamente conectados com o justo, nem a mais e nem a menos.
O conceito de TMST é potencializado quando aplicado de forma justa, ou seja, na medida certa para potencializar o brilho do “ator principal” – A HISTÓRIA – e é esse brilho que atrai os fãs.
Ótima análise e um belo post.
Acredito que a decisão deles foi realmente acertada. Se o objetivo de marketing já havia sido cumprido não há a necessidade de investir em um projeto transmídia agora. Mas já deixa o gancho para criar algo neste sentido quando chegar a hora de divulgar o segundo filme.
Com Jogos Vorazes mais conhecido, as chances de mais pessoas se aprofundarem na experiência transmídia será maior e isso agrega bastante valor ao projeto.