As transmedia storytelling becomes the norm, content creators are heightening the sense of reality behind narratives by blurring the lines between fact and fiction. Using viral videos, social networks and live events, filmmakers are making audiences believe in the mythology of their narrative.
As a recent example, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi film Prometheus was supported by a transmedia campaign involving content that appeared to have come from the real world. This included two viral films, including a ‘real’ TED talk which added to the realism of the future world in which the film is set.
The second viral film was a video advert and interview with David 8, Weyland Industries’ most advanced robot. The film takes the tone of a viral commercial, similar to those produced by Google or Apple. At no point is it intimated that David 8 is a fictional character in the film. A print advertisement for David 8 also ran in the Wall Street Journal.
A website based on the alternative reality of the film’s world was also created, where the public can apply for jobs at the company or view the catalogue of products, from futuristic ‘bio-replicator pods’ to ‘IM 80 (Igneous/Metamorphic) Rock Processor.
Merging fictional and factual worlds gives storylines a greater vividness, and incorporating small elements of the real world subliminally signifies that what the viewer is seeing is real. Brands need to recognise the potency in Factional storytelling, and its ability to bring a brand message to a heightened state of realism and immersion.