Mountain Dew Signs On For Paramount Digital Interactive Series

Pepsi’s Mountain Dew is collaborating with Paramount Digital Entertainment [PDE] on an episodic, interactive Web series and online game that will allow viewers to help determine the plot flow and story outcome.

The multi-platform series, being produced by new media production company Milchan/VanEyssen (MVE), is named “Circle of 8.” Paramount Digital described it as a thriller and a “supernatural journey” with many plots and interactive elements including an online game. Mountain Dew “will play a critical role in evolving the storytelling experience through ‘Circle of 8,’ going far beyond traditional sponsorship and brand integration models,” said Frank Cooper, a Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages executive with the enviable title CMO of Sparkling Beverages, in a statement.

The project will be PDE’s first release of an original property, said Keith Quinn, senior VP of creative development and production for PDE. “It’s not something we are retrofitting from TV,” Quinn said. “From the get-go, we are combining the passive experience of watching a filmed entertainment piece with a more interactive element.”

The series, to be distributed by PDE, will be designed to be viewed in high quality on the Web and on mobile devices. It will debut on MySpace in October and will subsequently be re-distributed as a full-length movie that will include the plot and finale choices made by online game participants. “‘Circle of 8’ combines narrative movie-making, Paramount’s core business for the last hundred years, with user experience, which we strongly believe will be an essential component for entertainment over the next hundred years,” said MVE producer and director David Van Eyssen, in a statement.

Quinn said one of the “Circle of 8” characters, written into the script before the deal with Mountain Dew was struck, is an artist. That works well for the companies because Mountain Dew sponsors an art initiative called Green Label Art. “If you go to the Green Label site they have customers making bottles of Mountain Dew, so our character is somebody who actually does that and it will be integral to the game play and series,” Quinn said. “It was a perfect meshing…one of those really great circumstances where their goal and our goals matched.”

The ability of participants to change the outcome of the series will be based on how well they play the game, he said.

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