Imagine a scripted TV series with plot points that tie directly into a massive multi-player online game.
Imagine a car company that doesn’t mind getting dirty for the sake of the story.
You don’t have to imagine! Just tune in tonight for the premiere of Defiance – the new Syfy series with a massive marketing scheme, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
First, we set the scene:
Set in the near future, “Defiance” introduces an exotically transformed planet Earth, its landscapes permanently altered following the sudden – and tumultuous – arrival of seven unique alien races. In this somewhat unknown and unpredictable landscape, the richly diverse, newly-formed civilization of humans and aliens must learn to co-exist peacefully. Each week, viewers will follow an immersive character drama set in the boom-town of Defiance, which sits atop the ruins of St. Louis, Mo., while in the game, players will adventure in the new frontier of the San Francisco Bay area. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story.
This isn’t your typical TV tie-in game. This is like legal fan fiction world. Watch the show, then continue the story online. Hang out with your favorite characters, spend more time visiting the places you saw on the show, be the first to discover the show’s secrets then share them (or don’t) with your friends.
Now add Dodge to the mix.
Two Dodge Chargers, with exterior modifications to fit the futuristic storyline, are the hero vehicles driven by main character Nolan (Grant Bowler), the city of Defiance “law-keeper.” The vehicles are integrated into the storylines beginning with the sixth episode, becoming main characters in the story.
When you play the game, you’ll have an opportunity to drive a souped-up Dodge Challenger, too.
Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO of Dodge Brand, Chrysler Group LLC says;
“Dodge has a long history of innovation, and this new partnership with SyFy is the latest example, as it represents the first-ever merging of TV and online gaming. While ‘Defiance’ is set in the year 2046, the featured Dodge Charger stays true to its DNA. It has timeless performance & technological capabilities needed to survive in a futuristic world, while the Challenger video game integration allows enthusiasts to interact with the iconic muscle car in ways they might not have imagined possible.”
Dodge will also run a contest and an extended social media campaign in mid-May.
All together, it’s a massive investment that truly connects the TV viewer to the game to social media and back to the TV again. The trick is running the entire thing in a way that doesn’t alienate people who only want to watch the show or just play the game.
Defiance premieres tonight on Syfy. I’ve seen the screener and it’s entertaining but a little heavy on the special effects for my liking. There are scenes that look like they came right out of a modern video game, so it should be a hit with the young, male demographic. I’m neither one of those things, but I was intrigued enough to set my DVR to series record. Hey, I may even try the online game.
Kudos, Syfy – your marketing campaign is working.