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Wanted: creative hybrids

May 27, 2011

Transmedia is a term that’s been around for the past three or four years; developed as a piece of thinking by Henry Jenkins over at MIT, it’s been making regular appearances in media and strategy presentations.

Like all theories born in academia- once you get it, it makes sense, but it did seem a little removed from the practical realities of what communication agencies make and do- we not quite there yet and many don’t feel they need to bother taking such an elaborate approach.

However, it’s starting to look like the world has caught up with the theory and “Transmedia” is now becoming an imperative, not just a nice to know.

Obviously, the rise of social media has meant it has to be baked into plans and thinking in a more sophisticated way. Brands need to work out how conversations and campaigns work together and apart and how synergies can be achieved between the two.

Now there’s another piece of evidence coming out of the IPG Media Lab in Los Angeles, that suggests “Transmedia” should be mandatory. The folks at the lab looked at the impact of “distraction media”on online video and regular TV viewing; the results were staggering.

– 60% of TV viewing was distracted by smartphones and 46% of online video viewing

Much of this distraction happens during the ad breaks- people literally turn away from the one screen they can’t control- to the one they can.

While this looks like a problem- it should be seen as an opportunity.

The creative and media challenge here is to develop creative that isn’t just the same stuff running on both media, but plays to the duality of usage.

We need creative hybrids.

How can you get someone to switch viewing and interacting from their television to their smartphone and visa versa?

The secret is to find the creative bridge between the two that can playfully enhance the communication experience by using the multiple media formats in clever and engaging ways.


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