Telling multiple stories over multiple mediums to form a cohesive whole.
The power of transmedia lies in the ability of the audience to form a cohesive story within their heads no matter what medium they enter at and without necessarily knowing it.
This is why transmedia marketing is often used for product releases such as clothing or movies.
One of the first and most successful forms of transmedia storytelling comes from the movie ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and its marketing campaign. The Blair Witch Project, released in Australia in 1999, follows the story of three student filmmakers who are investigating the supernatural legend known as the Blair Witch in the town of Burkittsville, Maryland. They disappear into the Black Hills with their recording equipment, and are never seen again until a year later when their footage is found.
The small, budget indie film managed to reel in over $248million at the Box Office, making it the second highest return on investment of any film.
Well, Haxan films the production company, used varying techniques so the story of the movie was believed to be real. They established a website, www.blairwitch.com, which was gradually expanded to reflect new information on the case being discovered. The website acts as a chilling time capsule to the events of the movie, giving the audience a place to go back to and make real time discoveries. Additionally, they dropped hints on online forums, edited the IMDb page so the actors were recorded as missing and closer to the release date they shared the views of the website to make it look like the movie would be a sell-out.
This attention to detail across multiple mediums and allowing the audience to create a cohesive story from different pieces of evidence initiated interest in the film that hadn’t been seen for a low budget indie film before.
Transmedia marketing is powerful and if this can be achieved in 1999! there are no limits.