Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mattel uses Transmedia to Capitvate 'Tween Market

Mattel has a hot property this holiday with Monster High, a new line of hip Twilight-esque teen dolls packaged as the children of legendary monster characters like Frankenstein and Dracula. (For example,"Frankie-Stein" is Frankenstein's daughter; "Draculaura" is Count Dracula's teenager.) 

According to trade reports M.H. dolls have been flying off store shelves since their debut in July, so much so that shortages now have fans hunting for them on eBay and Amazon.

Fashion dolls are just part of the Monster High franchise, however. Licensing already extends to electronics, novelty toys, cosmetics,costumes, fashion apparel and accessories, plush items, chapter books, pop music, and more.

Monster High is backed by a hefty transmedia marketing campaign, according to Ad Age. Traditional media – one TV spot and print ad – play a minor role compared to internet-based buzz and engagement activities that converge to give M. H. fans a vivid, multimedia experience.  

MonsterHigh.com serves as the brand's digital hub, loaded with ghoulish games, interactive activities plus an animated webisode series. Additionally, there’s an active Facebook fan page, dedicated YouTube channel, and a wiki platform where fans meet up - and where Mattel streams brand news and promotes big-budget entertainment like the recent Halloween TV special on Nickelodeon. Indeed, grand scale entertainment is integral to the company's marketing strategy. A full-length Monster High musical movie is in the works for release by Universal in 2012. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brand stories help focus and funnel social messaging

Artwork by Louise Campbell 
An effective online communications program requires more than a neat web network.  How a brand conceives and then conveys its sales pitch using Facebook, Twitter, email, and the like, matters far more.  A cohesive brand story, like an elevator pitch, is essential for connecting with true audiences - for whom the social web is increasingly very noisy. .

In the latest  Brand WeekDonald Friedman, principal at the branding and marketing consultancy Sequel, writes about messaging “dysfunction where everyone in an organization is working hard, but the brand is going nowhere." The root of the problem he says may be employees spinning their wheels in silos without a common communications goal or clear brand narrative.

This speaks to the absolute need for team integration and a disciplined approach to honing a  core message that can then be woven into a sticky brand story ... one that translates consistently across all channels.  


Monday, November 29, 2010

Should “sin” brands steer clear of social media?


Should some brands be unsociable?  That is, are some products and services better off being wallflowers at the social media ball?

Rob Marsh, author of the branding blog Brand Story, ran an interesting post recently about the difficulty so-called “sin” brands (i.e. distilled spirits) have keeping social conversations socially responsible and reasonably on theme.

The front-end of social marketing involves pumping out contextual content to engage fans and get them talking.  But as Marsh rightly points out, the end game of any social campaign is the online chatter it generates. For some brands (and product categories) the prospect for robust viral  publicity is offset by the possibility that fringe fans will dominate online conversations in ways that actually malign the brand. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Martha Stewart Living publishes first multimedia magazine

  

On November 10, Martha Stewart Living magazine launched its premier digital edition created especially for iPad. Like most things Martha Stewart does, jumping into digital publishing is bound to be a very “good thing.”  In this video Martha explains her decision to add a digital edition of MSL, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. 

There is plenty to like about MSL's digital format, with its dynamic how-to's, rich photo panoramas and slide shows, and documentary-quality video features. It's an extraordinary example of what can be done editorially thanks to advances in electronic publishing and camera technology. 

For example, digital MSL has two video features: one on artisanal cheese making and another about fishing in Alaska, each shot using one camera (i.e. RED camera) that captures still and moving images. Now, a subject can be covered for an array of media platforms, working quickly, economically, and to very high editorial standards. 

According to Eric Pike, MSLO's creative director, Adobe’s digital publishing suite makes it easy to incorporate moving images and interactive elements into a digital edition that's based on the print edition's layout. 

The challenge for print-trained editors, says Gael Towey, MSLO’s editorial director and creative chief, is conceiving stories for multimedia by anticipating how and where digital readers will view them. Publishing MSL on an iPad makes it a mobile magazine and toolbox that can move from armchair to the kitchen counter, into to the garden and out to the local supermarket. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ralph Lauren's amazing 4D augmented reality light show in New York and London

Ralph Lauren's flagship store in New York

This week Ralph Lauren boldly pushed the publicity and merchandising envelope with an extraordinary 4D light show, billed as “The Ultimate Collision Of Fashion, Art, & Technology,”  that superimposed lush cinematic effects on the company's storefronts in New York and London.

The roughly seven-minute light show celebrating Ralph Lauren's 10-year old online business was an eye-popping, multi-sensory happening powered by the latest in augmented reality and "architectural mapping." 
In one sequence the illusion of a grand staircase unfolding from inside the building's belly set the stage for 3D models who descended catwalk-style while towering chandeliers lowered from the night sky. Fade to black and seconds later a row of silk ties appeared, almost Dali-like, flapping gently in the virtual breeze. 

Next, a lizard skin belt stretched the building's width and cinched its glamorous waist. Again, momentary darkness until a giant crocodile handbag popped up and revolved 360-degrees. Fade once more and ... boom! Like a wild band of ghosts the brand’s signature polo players thundered across the store's facade, dashing in and out of sight.  
The big 4D moment arrived when four Big Pony fragrance bottles appeared and on cue one bottle spritzed the crowd below.

 RL's old-line image belies the fact that it is one of only a few luxury brands with a significant digital footprint. In addition to cross-channel advertising and an array of online catalogs, the company maintains a video-centric lifestyle website called RLTV, offers iPhone apps, and boasts more than one million friends on Facebook. Indeed, video of the 4D light show, now posted all over the social landscape, is neatly integrated across the Ralph Lauren's own digital network. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What brand storytellers can learn from John Barleycorn

In medieval Europe some ballads were composed, then cheaply printed and sold as broadsheets.  

This post is devoted to the artful use of words and verse to convey, powerful, imaginative, cohesive, and memorable narratives. Ballads, for example, a narrative form often set to music, trace back to medieval times when many were composed, then cheaply printed and sold across Europe as single sheet broadsheets.


The ballad has evolved over the years, though it remains characteristically narrative - a concise story using vivid imagery rather than description. The central theme is often anchored in repetition, sometimes in the fourth lines in succeeding stanzas. 

Today we talk about the value of word-of-mouth marketing and brand narratives. How might a great balladeer tell a brand story?

An especially old and wonderful ballad is the English folksong "John Barleycorn," in which the character of John Barleycorn personifies the cultivation of barley for making beverages like whisky and beer. The song is set at harvest time, and it chronicles John Barleycorn's demise during the process of reaping and malting. It's a grizzly story, true, but it is told provocatively and beautifully. 

It's hardly surprising that some versions of "John Barleycorn," date back 500 years; many of us may know it as the song John Barleycorn Must Die, recorded in 1970 by the English rock band Traffic. Theirs is a fantastic rendition, and it is best enjoyed by listening and reading (or singing) along.

- Ballad-Lyrics - 
There were three men came out of the west, their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn must die
They've plowed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn was dead

They've let him lie for a very long time, 'til the rains from heaven did fall
And little Sir John sprung up his head and so amazed them all
They've let him stand 'til Midsummer's Day 'til he looked both pale and wan
And little Sir John's grown a long long beard and so become a man
They've hired men with their scythes so sharp to cut him off at the knee
They've rolled him and tied him by the way, serving him most barbarously
They've hired men with their sharp pitchforks who've pricked him to the heart
And the loader he has served him worse than that
For he's bound him to the cart

They've wheeled him around and around a field 'til they came onto a pond
And there they made a solemn oath on poor John Barleycorn
They've hired men with their crabtree sticks to cut him skin from bone
And the miller he has served him worse than that
For he's ground him between two stones

And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl and his brandy in the glass
And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox nor so loudly to blow his horn
And the tinker he can't mend kettle or pots without a little barleycorn

Monday, November 8, 2010

New "curatorial" tools help brand story creators harness authority content on social networks

The abundance of authoritative tweets, video, blog posts, white papers, graphics, etc., make it easy to source elements for a dynamic multimedia story.Then what? Assembling choice bits into a cohesive narrative takes time and some editorial skill.

Publishing platforms like Posterous and Tumblr make it fairly simple to plug social content into multimedia blogposts. Now, new “curatorial” tools such as Storify go a step further, enabling story creators to search the likes of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Photobucket, and then drag and drop selected content into a linear flow wrapped in their own commentary. 

Storify co-founder Burt Herman, a former reporter for the Associated Press, says his service enables working journalists to weave original sources from the social web into their news stories. For example, The Washington Post used Storify to aggregate tweets from candidates after last week’s midterm elections. Storify's simplicity makes it suitable for non-journalists, too, like educators, marketers and publicists. 

A number of curatorial tools are currently in alpha or beta testing, notably Curatedby and KeepstreamAnother platform called Qwiki is quite unique in the way it sources and assembles social content into amazing visual presentations. The company’s website has a slick demo portfolio featuring glossy, pithy profiles about Madrid, the Eiffel Tower, Vincent van Gogh, and more. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Facebook Deals: Mobile promo may catch on slowly given geo-social's privacy issues



Facebook now makes local marketing even more socially dynamic with Facebook Deals, a new geo-location app that connects users of Facebook Places to hot deals offered by local businesses. Deals can take many forms: coupon savings, group deals, loyalty rewards or even charitable deals where a portion of sales go to a charity.

Some 23 major merchants and up to 20,000 small and midsize businesses in the U.S. are part of the initial program. Big players include American Eagle Outfitters, Chipotle, H&M, Macy's, McDonald's and Starbucks. The Gap says it plans to give away 10,000 pairs of jeans via Facebook Deals.  

Initially, Deals is only available through Facebook's iPhone app or via touch.facebook.com.

As this video post by Cnet demonstrates, users simply click to claim their discount and then redeem it by showing the deal on their phone at checkout.  The Deals service is an extension of Facebook Places, which lets smartphone owners with Facebook accounts share their exact location and find the whereabouts of friends. This latest feature notifies users of discounts and deals at selected merchants nearby.

"Coupons have become one of the most desirable forms of mobile advertising from a consumer perspective," says Greg Sterling, an independent analyst who closely follows Facebook.Facebook Deals not only 'accelerates' the company's big presence on mobile devices, it is 'very significant' for marketers, retailers and local businesses.  

Forrester Research's social media analyst Augie Ray calls this move “a game changer,” predicting that Facebook Places could single-handedly change the way people shop by “encouraging the adoption of check-in activities among people who previously saw no reason to do so.”     

Facebook doesn’t charge businesses to promote an offer on Facebook Deals. Instead, local businesses with deals have incentive to buy display ads on Facebook. 

Researcher eMarketerer projects Facebook will earn $1.28 billion in worldwide advertising revenue this year, up from $665 million in 2009. Market researcher BIA/Kelsey sees revenue from mobile advertising in the U.S. exploding to $3.1 billion in 2013, up from $320 million in 2009.   

To make things even more interesting, Facebook Deals combines geo-location with other geo-social features like Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, which many now use to shop, communicate, socialize and play games. Foursquare is said to be planning personal brand discovery features that leverage user recommendations and buying history.

Privacy concerns are hindering mainstream adoption of geosocial tech, however, and Facebook members may be turned off by the fact that when they activate a deal news of it gets posted to their wall. 

Pew Research found that only 4 percent of adults now use location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places, and only 1 percent of these actually use these services on any given day.  Pew also found that only 8 percent of adults 18-29 use them – significant because this segment is the largest in terms of geosocial tools acceptance.

For more on Facebook's privacy issues mega PR firm MS&L offers a white paper,  FacebookPrivacy: Implications for Marketers


This story from InformationWeekcom provides good insight, too. 

  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lost in translation? Why global brands need a local story.


Everyone aspires to luxury, right? Not according to Tyler Brûlé, the Canadian-born journalist, entrepreneur, and magazine publisher, who argues that consumers around the world think and behave differently, shaped by their local culture, history and values. Luxury brand Gucci for example, which is hot in Japan and the US, holds little appeal in Sweden where people prize social equality.(It’s little wonder that the massively democratic retailers H&M and IKEA are Swedish.)   


Several years ago Britain’s BBC4 ran a series presented by Brule called Counter Culture, which examined the consumer mindset in JapanLibyaSwedenItaly and the US.  He found that marketing, like politics, always has a  local dynamic. The Telegraph newspaper ran an article about Brule's show that’s still worth reading. Only the episode on Libya can be viewed on the web and it is fascinating. The other episodes are sold online. 

Recently the Financial Times ran a story about Russia's growing preference for home-grown fashion designers. According to Igor Chapurin, a noted Russian designer, after the end of the drab Soviet years Russian consumers gravitated to flashy western designers such as Versace and Valentino. Now they favor monochrome, low-key looks created by domestic talent who have a better grasp of Russian tastes and attitudes.

Mashable has an excellent post on international marketing with insights (and tips) on tailoring digital programs to vastly different audiences. 



Victoria's Secret? Short (commercials) work great. But shift to 15-second spots pushes larger brand story to the web



 USA Today reports that TV advertisers are shifting to shorter commercials.  The number of 15-second television commercials has jumped more than 70% in five years to nearly 5.5 million last year, according to Nielsen.  

The trend isn’t all that surprising. Today, people are pretty adept at tuning out tiresome commercials and research now shows that longer spots aren't necessarily better. With the right creative marketers can get a bigger bang running a heavier schedule of concise blips. 

Case in point: Victoria Secret’s new “Bombshell Bra” commercial  packs a heck of lot of sell into 15-seconds, though I wonder why this spot doesn't work harder by driving traffic to the VS website. Short format commercials airing on Hulu do this seamlessly because they are clickable. The fusion of broadcasting and web browsing should evolve quickly as new interactive television platforms such as Google TV become mainstream.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Transmedia takes root in children's book publishing



Speaking last week at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association’s annual trade show, Kristen McLean, executive director of Association of Booksellers for Children, cited transmedia as one of the leading trends in children’s book publishing. She said transmedia makes it possible to develop narrative properties that can be widely marketed using multiple media platforms such as smartphone apps, web sites, video/film, and social networks. “From now on this is the way young readers will be in the world,” McLean said.

One of the most compelling transmedia models in children’s publishing is The Amanda Project, a teen mystery series by Harper Collins that includes an interactive website experience developed by Fourth Story Media. By going online Amanda fans actively participate in the evolving story - becoming a character and contributing plot ideas, artwork, theories, clues, and more. The immersive nature of The Amanda Project has proven so popular with young readers (and aspiring writers) that some middle school teachers now incorporate it into their creative writing curriculum. 


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why scary stories have universal appeal


From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!


This article in the Financial Times looks at the timeless appeal of scary stories. 


Friday, October 29, 2010

NEW Myspace …quite a place for transmedia entertainment and cross-media marketers



Myspace relaunched this week as an entertainment platform that now puts content, not people, center stage. Facebook, with its half billion registered users, may have won the race for social network dominance, but judging by this video tour of Myspace's new format, the site could reemerge as an online entertainment powerhouse.

Myspace's new multimedia platform is especially timely considering developments in transmedia entertainment, which breaks storylines into parts and artfully delivers them across multiple media channels. Viewers enjoy a rich and immersive experience when these channels converge, say on a dedicated website ... like the new Myspace. Mobile applications make it possible to view mashed up content on iPad and smartphones. 

NBC's hit TV series Heroes is a model for transmedia storytelling, the central TV story made richer with sub-story lines streamed out using video/film, animation/graphic novels, games, music, twitter and forums, etc. –  for convergence on the show’s website. MTV’s latest teen-thriller Savage County works much the same way. 

If NBC and MTV can host transmedia on their own websites, can’t Myspace serve as a destination aggregator of transmedia productions and cross-media entertainment? It's an exciting thought. 
  
Will commercial sponsors warm up to the new Myspace? Great content and a cleaner, safer social environment will surely help. So does the fact that Myspace still has 122 million registered users worldwide – plus, deep roots in Generation Y who are digitally adept and voracious consumers of entertainment and branded goods. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wi-Fi Direct – Rise in consumer connectivity could be a boon for viral marketing



The Wi-Fi Alliance, which oversees the specifications for Wi-Fi tech applications, has set the stage for greater device-to-device connectivity by certifying products such as, laptops, video game consoles, MP3 players, smartphones, printers, and other peripherals, as Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct.  

Why is this important?  With portable content like photos, videos and music taking center stage in the digital consumer experience, Wi-Fi Direct devices meet an important consumer need: directly and easily connecting devices for content-sharing, syncing, printing, and gaming, anywhere without running wires or connecting to another Wi-Fi network.

Many manufacturers are now shipping models equipped with Wi-Fi Direct, which interfaces with other technologies like Bluetooth. Wi-Fi Direct can also be added to older Wi-Fi radios via a firmware upgrade.

This short video shows why Wi-Fi connectivity is ready for the consumer mainstream - and great for viral marketing. The proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled devices will create a massive audience for original, quasi-commercial content that’s meant to be shared. Branded content can take many forms: music, artwork, narratives, video clips, games, coupons, advocacy/affiliation campaigns, and much more.

The Wi-Fi Alliance cites these compelling trends in consumer connectivity: 

- Consumers are quickly incorporating new technologies into their life.  Wi-Fi will enable ordinary people to integrate their digital tools in sophisticated, seamless ways 

- Wi-Fi makes content-sharing personal, dynamic and instantaneous. An estimated 82 million Wi-Fi enabled portable consumer electronics and 216 million Wi-Fi enabled handsets will come on to the market this year, with annual growth projected at 26 percent through 2014. Wi-Fi apps for portable devices will grow at a 50 percent annual rate


- Wi-Fi connectivity is inherently social. In the United States, 64 percent of young people report that Wi-Fi  connectivity helps them maintain relationships with their friends. Moreover, young Americans also report they often gather around devices for entertainment, with about 90 percent of people reporting they have gathered around a portable device to look at pictures, videos, or video games.

- Content is being amassed and it's increasingly portable. It's estimated that American youth now carry about 1,100 songs, 50 videos, and 1,200 photos on digital devices

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Digi-novelist" Anthony Zuiker erects "cyber-bridge” to mesh story across publishing, film and social networking.



What is a digi-novel? Digi-novelist Anthony Zuiker, who is also the creator of the hit TV show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” described it to J.D. Biersdorfer, tech reporter at The New York Times, as “the best of publishing, motion picture and social communities all kind of meshed into one experience.”

Zuiker just published, “Dark Prophecy,” the second in his "Level 26″ crime thriller series, that is being marketed both as a printed novel and an e-book for iPad with Web links to a 52 minute-long film edited into 11 segments. There is free content on Level 26’s YouTube channel as well.

To promote “‘Dark Prophecy” Zuiker wrote a serial killer from the book into his Oct. 14 episode of CSI – the book’s release date. That’s a hefty publicity score considering CSI reaches nearly 15 million TV viewers each week.

Zuiker told Bloomberg’s Ronald Glover that disappointing sales of his first crime novel, “Level 26: Dark Origins,”  prompted his to engage “CSI” fans by creating a cyber-bridge” to link the story across publishing, film and social networking.  He said, “If I can just get 1 percent of the 15 million people who watch ‘CSI’ to buy this book I’ll have a bestseller on my hands.”  

Monday, October 18, 2010

U.S. Department of Education Awards HITN $30 Million for Ready to Learn Initiative using Transmedia Storytelling


The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has announced that the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HITN), in partnership with Callaway Digital Arts and the Michael Cohen Group LLC (MCG), was awarded a $30 million Ready to Learn grant for Project LAMP (Learning Apps Media Partnership). The project is an early childhood media-based education initiative targeting next-generation learners including children from low-income groups.

The content will be largely available as an open educational resource and use a transmedia storytelling approach through books, iPAD/Touch Screen applications, mobile device and phone applications, console and hand held gaming applications, sing along DVDs and CDs, an interactive Website, and television. The USDE, in 2010, expanded the Ready to Learn grant program to include transmedia storytelling.

Hearst Digital debuts awesome ESQUIRE magazine for iPad!

Until now digital adaptations by popular magazines haven’t been all that exciting.  This month’s debut of ESQUIRE for iPad is truly an awesome editorial and technological achievement, however, and it offers a thrilling glimpse at where magazine publishing is headed. 

Developed by Hearst Digital and ScrollMotion, Esquire's iPad app makes each page a rich and dynamic experience. Take the October cover featuring actor Javier Bardem. He strolls right up to your screen and personally welcomes you to the issue as Esquire's masthead and interactive story call-outs fuse into rightful position. 

This video demo shows how the magazine goes very digital while still retaining its hallmark editorial design and quality. For example, photography in the fall style section can be rotated 360 degrees and viewed from various angles. The automotive review opens with a stunning still shot of an Audi roadster that turns cinematic when the driver revs up, roars away and then screeches back to give us a frontal view. Cool!  An article about the World Trade Center’s reconstruction is presented in layers of interactive text, high-resolution images and animation.

Josh Koppel, one of the co-founders of ScrollMotion, whose clients include Hearst, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Simon and Schuster, and The Jim Henson Company, believes digital publishing should not be about putting a PDF version on an iPad; rather, he says digitization should be an additive process that makes each page a powerful multimedia platform.

No doubt magazines have much to gain by publishing digital editions. Consider that Esquire’s iPad app is sold at full price ($4.99) on a per-issue basis - no discounted subscriptions. (The iPhone edition costs $2.99 per issue.) As long as audiences keep coming back (how could they not given fantastic content?) it makes sense advertisers will be lining up, too. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Skype features on Facebook give brand advocates greater voice

Skype's release of Skype 5.0 for Windows includes a new Facebook tab that allows users to SMS or call their Facebook friends (even do a 10-caller video group call) right from their Facebook News Feed. This feature could have interesting applications for brand marketers with active Facebook fan communities. 

For example, we might see Facebook friends rallying around one-day deals promoted editorially by Groupon, which offers super-low prices by facilitating group buying online. Since deals are only activated once a minimum quota of buyers has been met, many Groupon users get their friends on board through social networking. Especially hot deals could warrant the extra nudge of a Skype call or SMS. 

Most of Groupon's daily deals are for local restaurants, events, services and retailers, but there's potential for national brands and chains, too. Case in point, GAP recently ran a national one-day Groupon deal that sold nearly half a million "Groupons" valued at more than $11 million.  GAP's Facebook fan page had a role in this success, no doubt, and now with Skype fan endorsements can be even more dynamic. 

For consumer marketers, dovetailing Facebook (for reach), Skype (for advocacy), and Groupon (for high-value, time-sensitive promotion), may be a winning way to leverage fan communities for brand-building, publicizing new products, encouraging trial, or getting momentum behind sales events. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leggo my logo! GAP's flap proves logos are social

Brief makeover, now over. 
GAP’s brief  fling with a new logo is over and everyone (except the design firm, no doubt) is happy again.

So what did we learn?  For one, who knew GAP's fans cared so much?  This became abundantly clear as fans flocked to social media to voice disfavor with the company's new logo design.  What happened with GAP reveals plenty about brands and the new rules of fan engagement!

GAP's decision to nix its new logo raises an interesting question about brand identity: Should customers have any say in something as major as a corporate mark? I believe they do. Logos are social, after all.

Before Twitter and Facebook GAP would  have gone ahead with the logo change, disenfranchising some of its best customers in the process. Thanks to social media the company averted what could have been a costly mistake. GAP listened and truly engaged its customers in the logo issue, and for doing that the brand (and fan base) is all the stronger.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disney and Propaganda Games tightly aligned on new 'TRON' film/game releases







Continuing my recent post about transmedia projects and the importance of creative alignment, at last week’s New York Comic Com the panel discussing Disney's upcoming release of the video game TRON: Evolution talked about the extraordinarily close integration among the game’s developers at Propaganda Games and filmmakers at Disney. This featurette provides an inside look at their creative collaboration and here is a post on sticthkingdom.com that gives a concise overview of the TRON franchise

Disney will release the TRON: Evolution game on December 7, 2010, and on December 17, it will release the 3-D film TRON: Legacy, the first sequel since TRON's film debut in 1982. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comic book king STAN LEE sees gold in digital/cross-media narratives


When the first comic book was published in 1934 as a compilation of newspaper comic strips, who could have imagined how white-hot comic book properties would become?   

Stan Lee, the legendary comic book writer and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics, says the digital age is great for the comic book industry. In a recent interview with The Street TV, he said digital devices like iPads provide great platforms that bring static comic book stories to life. Lee added that the spate of superhero-inspired blockbusters coupled with the allure of lucrative multimedia story deals, has made some screenwriters and novelists eager to write comic books. 

So good are the prospects for comic book gold, in fact, that last year Lee, with award-winning producer Gill Champion and intellectual property attorney Arthur Lieberman, Esq., founded POW! Entertainment (Pink Sheets: POWN), an advanced media and entertainment company for creating, producing and licensing original intellectual properties for the global market.  Disney, which last year acquired Marvel Entertainment, Inc., has a ‘first look’ deal with POW! and also holds a 10% stake in the company.

Lee explained his bullishness for comic books in a televised interview on CNBC's Squawk on the Street. He said, “The need for stories is a human need and whether they're comic books or they're on the internet or on the screen, everybody wants to be entertained.” Lee maintains that a quality story - one that's full of action, surprise and suspense - is still paramount. 

During last week's New York Comic Con, Pow! announced several new projects, including: 

“The Seekers” - a digital comic series in development with MTV for its new MTV Geek website that offers comics, horror, sci-fi and gaming news, as well as coverage of comic-book conventions and previews of new comic books, games and movies.

A three-book development deal with the start up comic book and graphic novel company, 1821 Comics.  The first book is said to be a futuristic retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, titled Romeo and Juliet: The War.

Collaboration with Yoshiki , Asia's most influential music artist and founder and drummer of the band X JAPAN, on a music superhero comic book and motion comic series. 
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