Last week I came upon this delightful piece of transmedia, thanks to the obsessive coverage by Entertainment Weekly of all things Hunger Games.
It’s the new “Capitol Couture” blog for all those fashionistas who love the mad style and glittery colors of Suzanne Collin’s fictional District One (a.k.a. The Capitol). Unlike the Panem website, which requires a Facebook or Twitter login, Capitol Couture offers a splashy, magazine-style format for anyone interested. Posts are divided into such topics as Cover Stories, Profiles, Capitol Look, Guides, Intel, and Citizen Activity. Fans can read, like, share, and comment on each post, further generating fan engagement and interaction.
The tumblr blog is clever and imaginative. There is a banner that advertises the 74th Annual Hunger Games, creepily similar to the ad banners we all encounter across the web. There is a space for you to write to the editor and a Twitter stream in the sidebar so you can stay up-to-date with the latest announcements from Panem. (Yep, they’ve got a Twitter account, too.) There is a competition for anyone wishing to channel their inner Cinna in the hopes of being selected as their district’s stylist. There is even a Capitol line of nail polish called “Colors From the Capitol” by China Glaze, each color representing a district. You can purchase your favorite starting March 1st.
Several posts incorporate real-life fashion photographers and designers, such as this entry: “Craig McDean – Steal the show from the Tributes with this high-necked number at your next Sponsor’s banquet!” Other posts echo the voice of another fictional fashion-and-society blogger – Gossip Girl – like so: “Spotted! Yummy grosgrain peep-toes on one of the Capitol’s favorite socialites. Just how black were they in person? Coal-black. A sure sign of the District 12-inspired fashion revolution we predict is just around the corner.”
The insider references to districts, events, and characters are sure to delight fans. But really, what is the point?
Lionsgate (or a digital marketing company that is working with Lionsgate) has certainly taken advantage of online and social media to build buzz around the film’s March 23 release. Transmedia elements, like Capitol Couture, do more than garner excitement and prompt Siri reminders. They allow for fans to become part of the story while simultaneously welcoming new fans into the fold.
Sound familiar? AMC executed the same strategy for the third season premiere of its Emmy-winning series Mad Men (coincidentally produced by Lionsgate studio). With the creative genius of Deep Focus, fans were given the chance to create customised, 1960’s-era, Mad Men-inspired likenesses of themselves and then spread them throughout social media. The result? 3.3 million viewers for the premiere – up from the usual 2 million.
Sure, it’s cute and creative to post about Effie Trinket’s shoes as if she were a real person. Yet it is the spreadable and immersive nature of this transmedia that heightens visibility and deepens investment – something producers hope will translate into mega-numbers at the box office.