Earth 2100 – a transmedia campaign for change? – The Narrative Design Exploratorium™

Earth 2100 – a transmedia campaign for change?

I recently stumbled onto ABC’s new project “Earth 2100”, as a transmedia project it blends TV, game, journalism, and web 2.0 functionality. On the surface, their site makes the project seems simple and proactive:

“In an unprecedented television and internet event, ABC News is
asking you to help answer perhaps the most important question of our
time — What will our world be like over the next one hundred years if
we don’t act now to save our troubled planet?

“Are we living in the last century of our civilization? Is it possible
that all of our technology, knowledge and wealth cannot save us from
ourselves? Could our society actually be heading towards collapse?”

While a very compelling question unto itself, when combined with clips like the one contained withing the article: the theme becomes a bit altered and personally I found myself with a new perspective.

Eath 2100 looks like good old sensational news
reporting guised in a ‘social activism’ shell. At the core of the experience seems to be a fear propaganda campaign aimed at
increasing TV viewership. The marketing strikes some almost cliché basic psychological chords, low on Maslow’s pyramid of needs,
kinda like a kick to the viewers gut, it strikes at the very
foundations of the human subconscious, safety and physiological needs.

Maslow's Pyramid of Needs
When people get into to group psychological
mindsets strange things can happen. Just look at what people are doing for McDonald’s ARG campaign “The Lost Ring”, watch this video
below to witness the group psychology, I mean, fun, in action. Blending
media and reality like this can be dangerous to audiences, in that,
there are people out there that can be driven to great lengths when
believeing this classic apocalyptic almost biblical forecasting. Change
is important, but driving it through Ad sponsored fear, isn’t my way of
going about it.

It’s not that I don’t think this project isn’t well put
together. On the contrary, it’s so well put together that grown adults
are taking time out of their lives to enact corporate cross-media
campaigns. It’s powerful stuff, let’s hope we see it used for the
common good and not to fuel another Y2K.

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This page contains a single article by Stephen E. Dinehart published on June 19, 2008 6:30 AM.

Is story still a misnomer in games? was the previous entry in this blog.

Masters of Narrative Design™ 1: Jan Sircus is the next entry in this blog.

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