As TNT gears up for the debut of the second season of "Falling Skies" on Sunday, June 17, it has partnered with digital agency Digital Kitchen to launch, Today We Fight, an interactive video and journal experience that pulls in user data from Facebook with plot lines from the show.
Falling Skies chronicles the aftermath of an alien attack on earth. The intent of the new initiative is to not only get viewers excited about the return of the series, but to entice new viewers.
In Today We Fight, users and their friends "become the characters in [their] own personal resistance story" against the attacking aliens.
Users sign in using Facebook Connect. Today We Fight launches with a theatrical trailer that leads into the pages of a personalized journal. New journal pages will be added throughout the season.
"It starts where you're scrolling through Facebook, updating statuses and you see friends and family. It lulls you into a sense of familiarity with the people you see everyday on Facebook," said Digital Kitchen executive creative director Camm Rowland of the video. "But part way through that, we introduce the idea of an invasion through the social channel with people posting about it. If something like this happened in real life, we think this is the way people would really find out about it."
In other words, users see familiar names and faces in a faux Facebook feed. The fake updates become increasingly more dramatic and dovetail with the story of Falling Skies. That includes a recap of Season 1, as if a user's friends and family were actually dealing with an alien invasion.
All the while, Today We Fight is pulling in information about a user's name, location and friends and family. For example, in addition to names and phony Facebook posts, it also shows friends' photos on a cork board of missing people. And the user's last name appears on a soldier's uniform.
One of Digital Kitchen's goals was to help overcome fear among people who had not seen the first season that they wouldn't know enough about the show to tune in for the second season.
"It makes it part of the story while summarizing Season 1," Rowland said. "When people share, friends and family can watch the video and feel like they know enough about the show to start watching Season 2."
And because Digital Kitchen plans to release new journal chapters in real-time along with the episodes, Rowland said it will feel like a relevant experience throughout Season 2.
Interactive elements in the journal include choosing shape, color and insignia for a patch for the resistance fighters, as well as selecting weapons.
And as users interact with the elements, they can share their activity with friends and family to further drum up interest.
"The fun of what we're doing with Facebook Connect is it's more about creating a rich, continuous story. It's not just dropping names like Mad Libs," Rowland said. "It's creating character profiles. Something that happened to a friend in Chapter 1 [of the journal] continues throughout."
As of Tuesday, about 2,800 people were using the app, according to a figure displayed upon sign-in.
Digital Kitchen previously worked with TNT to create an intro to the show, a promotion video for Season 1 and a podcast.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014