Vauxhall Crossed Audience Building

Date: Dec 2009

Version 1.0

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DOCUMENT ORIGIN

Name Author Robert Pratten

Job Title Consultant

Date Dec 2009

DOCUMENT HISTORY Version 1.0 Amendment Initial draft for discussion Issued 2 Dec 2009

Contents 1 Executive Summary ....................................................................................................................4 1.1 2 Next Steps ..................................................................................................................................... 4

Background ................................................................................................................................5 2.1 2.2 Appraisal of current situation ....................................................................................................... 5 Web Implementations today ........................................................................................................ 5 Homepages ........................................................................................................................... 5 Social media & other websites .............................................................................................. 5

2.2.1 2.2.2 3 4

Recommendations......................................................................................................................7 Proposal for Building the Audience .............................................................................................8 4.1 Create two new websites to act as hub for all Daisy Scarlett properties ..................................... 9 Chinese Take-Away ............................................................................................................... 9 Ning private social network ................................................................................................ 11

4.1.1 4.1.2 4.2

Use of Twitter.............................................................................................................................. 13 Wing Tip on Twitter............................................................................................................. 13 Jon Brooke on Twitter ......................................................................................................... 13 DaisyScarlettMovie ............................................................................................................. 14

4.2.1 4.2.2 4.2.3 4.3

Use of Facebook .......................................................................................................................... 14 Chinese Take-away on Facebook ........................................................................................ 14 Vauxhall Crossed on Facebook ............................................................................................ 15

4.3.1 4.3.2 4.4 4.5

Jon Brooke’s Blog ........................................................................................................................ 15 Espionage Alternative Reality Games (ARG) ............................................................................... 15 Project Take-Away .............................................................................................................. 15 Basic Training ...................................................................................................................... 16

4.5.1 4.5.2

Index of Figures Figure 1 Daisy Scarlett website ..................................................................................................................... 6 Figure 2 IMDB forum..................................................................................................................................... 6 Figure 3 Striking oil analogy for growing fan base ........................................................................................ 8 Figure 4 Daisy Scarlett Webpages ................................................................................................................. 9

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1

Executive Summary

Daisy Scarlett is the start of the Vauxhall Crossed movie and is a fantastic character able to span feature films, graphic novels, merchandising and more. This document is concerned with how best to build, retain and activate an audience. One common concern is often how to keep the audience motivated and there’s usually a fear of peaking too early or doing something too soon such that enthusiasm dissipates before the feature film is released. However, in today’s crowded marketplace it’s never too early to start audience building and if done correctly – as described here – then the audience will generate its own content and engagement. Another concern arises from the idea that audiences will contribute to the storyworld and in allowing them to do so that there will be a loss of control. Or that story ideas and secrets for future feature films or other media will be discovered by accident or revealed prematurely. Again, these concerns can be alleviated by properly structuring the audience involvement and softly directing them towards “safe areas” of the narrative where they’re free to explore without infringing on our ideas. Section 3 of this document lists twelve recommendations under the following general headings: • • • Increase Audience Recruitment and Retention Improve Engagement with the Story Improve Search Engine Optimization

Section 4 presents the practical steps towards achieving the recommendations.

1.1

Next Steps

The next steps are to: • • Discuss the suggestions identified in Section 4 Create a plan and identify resources for implementing what we agree.

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2

Background

Daisy Scarlett is an attractive MI6 secret agent: imagine a female James Bond. Vauxhall Crossed is the first feature film of what could be a lucrative franchise spanning movies, comics, books, TV shows and merchandise appealing to both sexes aged 15 years and up. Note: Throughout this document the term “storyworld” is used to describe the total body of work that encompasses the Daisy Scarlett universe and hence includes all prequels, sequels, comic books, merchandising and so on.

2.1

Appraisal of current situation

The character Daisy Scarlett and the Vauxhall Crossed script, in various names and drafts, have been around for a number of years but, I think it’s fair to say, hasn’t really gained much traction with audiences because there is nowhere for them to congregate and show their affection (not counting the message board on the IMDB which is more or less empty of discussion). Hence, although the producers are routinely successful in leveraging rumored talks with A-list cast to get publicity, these spikes of interest tend to result in fleeting attention rather than consistently building a larger fan base.

2.2

Web Implementations today

Searching for Vauxhall Crossed and Daisy Scarlett on the internet reveals the sites below.

2.2.1

Homepages

The only website found was http://www.daisyscarlettmovie.com/ This is an undeveloped site with only the landing page shown in Figure 1.

2.2.2

Social media & other websites

There are no social media sites or other websites apart from the IMDB which has been the primary traffic destination for tweets from the producers. The IMDB message board for Vauxhall Crossed in shown in Figure 2.

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Figure 1 Daisy Scarlett website

Figure 2 IMDB forum

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3

Recommendations

Based on the observed websites and discussions, I can make a number of recommendations: Increase Audience Recruitment and Retention • • create a timetable and strategy for building a fan base such that each activity reinforces the next identify several core audiences and begin to build sustainable momentum through word-ofmouth and insider recommendations begin building an email mailing list and encourage viewers to “follow” or “subscribe” new social media channels start developing a consistent transmedia property and experience that will cross-collateralize audiences across the movies, comics, books and other properties (think bigger than just Vauxhall Crossed) begin selling a limited selection of create-on-demand merchandise.

Improve Engagement with the Story • create a website that engages the audience in the storyworld of Daisy Scarlett, not with the movie (this will be explained later) allow fans to discuss and participate in the broader issues and dilemmas raised in Vauxhall Crossed enable fans to become advocates for the project and spread the word.

Improve Search Engine Optimization • use Twitter and a popular blogging platform to increase the likelihood of being picked up in searches by potential fans.

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4

Proposal for Building the Audience

Because Daisy Scarlett is the main character and focal point in Vauxhall Crossed, and because she spans all media, the objective is to build an audience around her and her world. To build an audience for Daisy Scarlett the strategy is to: • • reach out to passionate spy genre fans first and broaden the awareness over time (see Figure 3) use the whole Daisy Scarlett storyworld to pull fans to us, rather than pushing a sales pitch for the Vauxhall Crossed movie give fans the ammunition and tools to reach out to their friends.

Figure 3 Striking oil analogy for growing fan base

My proposal is to do the following:  create two new websites that will be a hub for all cross-media Daisy Scarlett activity and immerse audiences in her world of espionage using elements of role-playing (See 4.1) use Twitter to connect to audiences and to help them discover us (See 4.2) create new Facebook pages for audience engagement and for a movie reference source (See 4.3) create a spy blog written by a fictitious agent, Jon Brooke, working for Daisy (See 4.4) create simple espionage ARGs (See 4.5).

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4.1

Create two new websites to act as hub for all Daisy Scarlett properties

While we keep the existing Daisy Scarlett as a traditional movie website, we create two new websites: • a fake Chinese take-away restaurant site (see http://wingtip.moonfruit.com ) which is the home for official communication between the project team and the audience a private social network on www.ning.com which allows hardcore fans or more curious audience members to role-play being a spy and play spy-themed games.

Figure 4 Daisy Scarlett Webpages

4.1.1

Chinese Take-Away

The Chinese Take-Away site will seek to immerse the visitor in the world of Daisy Scarlett and her secret society. It will pretend to be the actual site of Daisy’s activities as though the society actually existed. Of course, visitors will know or come to know that its phony but they’ll nevertheless want to suspend disbelief because this “in-character” approach will engage their imagination.

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4.1.1.1

The landing page

At first sight the website looks like a regular take-away, with menus etc but it will encourage visitors to become members and to become a fan on Facebook. The fan page on Facebook is for the Chinese takeway, not the movie (See 4.3.1). Note that the fun of the site and the challenge to members is to make this restaurant appear as real as possible while still providing subtle hints to lure in new members. One small problem is the audience will be global and of course most take-aways are local. At first the pretence will be that food can be ordered and delivered all over the world. It’s vacuum-sealed and packed for reheating in the microwave. Over time we may allow other members to open local franchises meaning that these will be new fronts for local sleeper cells! Hence very active members can take their involvement even further. 4.1.1.2 The welcome email

New members will receive a welcome email from Daisy asking them to become a fan of the Chinese Take-Away page on Facebook and to follow the restaurant on Twitter. Their first task is to fabricate reviews, upload fake photos of them eating Chinese food (whilst being careful to disguise their identity!) and so on – anything to protect the front (See 4.5.1). 4.1.1.3 The members pages

These pages ought to give that feeling that comes with the rush of discovering something new: it’s a reward for digging deeper. They need to look like spy pages even if there’s a hint of pretend - just as there is with the movie. Example pages might be:  Welcome. This thanks the user for joining and has further calls to action such as following on Twitter etc. Lingo. This is a dictionary of spy jargon as used in the movie and any additional terms as they develop. Fans can be encouraged to create their own which will be developed on the Ning group and transferred to here if we think they’re good enough. Weapons. This will illustrate a range of weapons used by the society and possibly a short note about when and what situations to use it in. Again, members of the Ning group will be encouraged to create new weapons and document existing ones. This involves them in the storyworld and prevents us from doing all the work. Propaganda. This page will explain that the movie Vauxhall Crossed is being produced by the society as propaganda! Nobody will believe this is actually true but it’s important to come up with a plausible excuse. It will also have a link to the movie site and Facebook fan page. Note that this page doesn’t pitch the movie, it just acknowledges that it exists and that it’s part of this universe. The selling of the movie is done by the Classification: Confidential page 10 of 16

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movie page. As the franchise grows, the page will serve to highlight additional propaganda such as graphic novels, books, new movies etc.  Merchandise. The role of the merchandise is to cement the relationship between the fan and the storyworld. Hence, the merchandise must be “in character” and promote the Take-Away, not the movie. It will offer a basic but cool T-shirt design with a more extensive range of items promoted only to members of the Ning group. Contact Us. While the membership is small we should keep this page as simply a form to email us for membership of the Ning group. However, as the membership grows we can use it to invite people to open franchise in their area. This is basically a way to empower the most active fans in popular areas of the world.

4.1.2

Ning private social network

The private network is intended for hardcore spy and Daisy Scarlett fans. The benefit of this site over the Chinese Take-Away is that fans can upload their own content. The objective is to get the fans contributing to the site so that it remains fun and relevant rather than have the project team constantly trying to invent new ideas and producing content. Ning allows us to keep the group completely private and only accessible to members. These members must be invited after membership of the Take-Away site. This page will have the following sections: • About   Organizational goals. This will explain the society; what it does and why it exists. Organizational structure. This is a who’s who of all the “good guys”. The chart will illustrate the hierarchy and each character will have a small bio. These characters should be taken from the movie Vauxhall Crossed and include new guy, Jon Brooke who notionally maintains the Ning group. Note that the biographies are in-character, there’s no mention of the actors who will play these roles. History. This will explain how the organization was established and several key stages in its development. Wanted. This introduces all the “baddies” of the Daisy Scarlett universe in the style of Most Wanted-type posters or, better still, playing cards (as used in the Iraq war). Each bad guy would ideally have an illustration and a brief biography. Again, it ought to introduce the SAS office from Vauxhall Crossed unless this is to be kept as a surprise.

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The Fiction The concept here is that the movie(s) have been created by the society to further its cause by educating the public!  Movies. As Vauxhall Crossed is made, finished clips should be made available here. In addition to the content, there will be information pertinent to potential distributors, financiers and the press. Such as, movie poster, one-sheet, hires publicity stills, reviews, and trailer. Although none of this important information is available without membership, part of the sales pitch for the movie will be this community. Hence potential business partners ought to be asked to go through the same experience. Behind the scenes. While the Blog allows a more dynamic, news-based exchange of information between the production and the fans, this section is for “ever-green” photos and clips relating to the production of the movie Your Stories. The best short (or long) stories that appear in the forum will be moved to here as they are written.

Community This area of the site encourages fan participation and allows people to upload and link to their pictures, videos and audio. If it can be made to work well, it also creates new content for the site without significant cost.  Weapons & Gadgets. Members can upload their own weapon and gadget designs and places to conceal them. These can be text descriptions, illustrations or photographs of weapons they’ve made. Other members can comment and vote on the weapons. We might also consider listing cool stuff that people can buy from places like the gadget shop, the spy store and so on. Member Pages. Members are encouraged to create a page for themselves in character with the Daisy Scarlett universe as though they were actually spies within the society. To help with this we need to create membership icons within this storyworld. Groups. Members are encouraged to form sleeper cells with others who are in the same geographic location. The point of this is to get people talking and interacting. Forum. This is an open (but moderated) forum allowing discussion of the society, the movie, characters and possibly even political issues. One section of the forum should encourage fans to upload their own espionage stories. The best of these stories could be featured on the “Your Stories” section of the site. Another forum section will discuss Twitter code words (See 4.5).

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Missions. This is most probably one of the forum topics. Nevertheless the purpose is to have members do fun stuff and take part in simple casual games. Two ongoing missions are explained in 4.5. Blog. This is a fake blog created by a Jon Brooke, a fictitious spy working for Daisy. The blog discusses activities around the society being sure to focus on cool stuff and highlight active members. It should also including some smaller more mundane activities for authenticity. Finally, because the movie and subsequent spin-offs are being created by the society, the spy is able to refer to behind the scenes activities and include links to other parts of the site.

Support Us  Merchandise. The role of the merchandise is to cement the relationship between the fan and the storyworld. Hence, the most prominent merchandise should be “in character” and promote the Take-Away, not the movie. It will include T-shirts, caps and anything else cool. There can be some Vauxhall Crossed merchandise but it’s best left until the fan base grows. Widgets. Allow fans to spread their love across their Facebook, MySpace and other pages with embeddable widgets. These widgets will take various forms from small graphical buttons that show a person eats food from Wing Tip to a limited range of embeddable movie clips (as they become available).

4.2

Use of Twitter

We shall use three Twitter streams:    Wing Tip (Chinese Take-Away) JonBrooke (name of fictitious spy working for Daisy) DaisyScarlettMovie.

4.2.1

Wing Tip on Twitter

The Twitter account is used to maintain the front from the restaurant but also to pass secret messages between members. What these messages are and how they are formatted is decided in the Ning group – with our guidance. See 4.5.1

4.2.2

Jon Brooke on Twitter

This is the Twitter stream of a member of Daisy’s team operating from within the Ning group and includes: • Calls to Action: Tweeted in code to tell members new material is available for viewing

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Real World News: This news will actually define our audience and will keep the Twitter stream alive. It serves the project in several important ways:   authenticity because it’s connected to the real world increased chance of discovery because these tweets are likely to get noticed by people searching for the terms and topics related to the news items value because followers get news information that’s of benefit to them; it’s not just a constant sales pitch understanding of our audience and what is of interest to them. This is gained through observing their retweets and replies.

Personal Storyworld: Fictitious personal news and events in the life of our spy as he travels around the world (“stuck at Schipol airport again”, fake spy talk “red cow is under silver moon”). This increases the awareness and depth of understanding of the storyworld and our spy. Overtime, the idea is to flesh out a full character only through the use of tweets – information about his school, ex-wife, kids etc.

4.2.3

DaisyScarlettMovie

The DaisyScarlettMovie identity will be retained and reserved for movie production updates. Tweets on this channel are likely to be infrequent and of course focused towards the movie.

4.3

Use of Facebook

We shall have two Facebook pages: • • fans of the Chinese take-away fans of Vauxhall Crossed.

The importance of Facebook is that it:   captures connections and facilitates discussion “where the people are” helps spread awareness through each fan’s social network.

We have to acknowledge that even though we’d like the audience to make the movie site or the Ning site its focus, we have to serve audiences where they hang out – and that’s on Facebook.

4.3.1

Chinese Take-away on Facebook

Part of the fun of being a fan of this page is that there will be insiders who get the joke and outsiders who don’t. Our objective is to get the insiders to tease the outsiders and for the outsiders to eventually become the new insiders… and recruit more outsiders to make fun of. Version 1.0 Vauxhall Crossed 1.0 Classification: Confidential page 14 of 16

The page becomes the world’s worst kept secret and that’s what will generate the viral activity. At the right time – probably just before the movie’s opening weekend – the cover can be blown and this in itself will generate a ton of press. It will possibly mean, however, re-creating a new front and moving to a new fake location at some point.

4.3.2

Vauxhall Crossed on Facebook

This page looks very much like all the other movie Facebook pages with information about the movie, the cast etc. There’s no mention of a secret society or secret websites – only an occasion fake wall posting from Wing Tip telling people they have a new special.

4.4

Jon Brooke’s Blog

While a private blog is maintained within Ning, which is only viewable by members, this is a public blog on a site like Wordpress or Typepad. Like Jon’s Twitter stream, it serves as bait for search engines – catching people searching for content that identifies them as having a possible interest in the movie and the Daisy Scarlett storyworld. All the content here has been cut-and-pasted from the private Ning blog but doesn’t include society information. It does, however, carry an advert for the Wing Tip Chinese Take-Away – and hence providing a secret link to the society.

4.5

Espionage Alternative Reality Games (ARG)

The objective of the ARGs is simply to engage the membership: it’s not necessarily the end result but the participation. The fun comes from “playing spy” and over time the challenges and tasks could become more complex and involve more collaboration between members. At first however the games should be easy to take part and fun. The two games available at launch of the Ning society should be: • • Project Take-Away Basic Training.

These both ongoing ARGs with no beginning or end.

4.5.1

Project Take-Away

Members are encouraged to help create and maintain the cover of the restaurant which they now know doesn’t exist! They are asked to contribute to the Facebook page with photos of them eating Chinese food at home with friend, write fake reviews (good and bad), create fake packaging and receipts, fake flyers and advertisements – anything that helps keep the pretence that the restaurant actually exists.

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As described in 4.3.1, the fun is in being an insider and making fun of the outsiders!

4.5.2

Basic Training

Members are to create a dead letter box, upload a photo or a detailed description of its location (after all it might be just a crack in a wall) and add the location to a Google map. Better still, they are to leave something behind like a secret note or something small like a keyring. Other members then have to go to the dead letter box and then either read the message and act on it or simply prove they were there – in both cases providing photo evidence by uploading a photo. The fun is simply in the search and the kudos of finding it first. Over time top finders and creators will be awarded medals and honors to show their status as rewards for their efforts. When a member creates a new dead letter box, they are to notify the society by using a @reply to the Take-Away Twitter account such as “@wingtip ordered the spring rolls in <town>” where <town> is replaced by the place where they’ve created the drop and “spring rolls” is the code for a new dead letter box. When the letter box is found the reply should be “@wingtip LOVED the spring rolls in <town>”. Over time, we and the members will use other menu items as code for other activities.

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