Inside: A Social Film

Are you one of those movie watchers who yells at the characters in a horror flick? If so, you’ll probably love Inside: A Social Film Experience, sponsored by Toshiba and Intel. The online film, directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia), stars Emiliy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) as Christina, a twenty-something your woman trapped in a room with no method of escape. Her sole link to the outside world is a Toshiba Satellite P775 laptop sporting an Intel processor with an untraceable Internet connection. Since Christina doesn’t know why she’s being held or where she is, she reaches out to her Facebook and Twitter network with a plea for help.

As Todd Wasserman of the blog Mashable puts it, “The project shows the lengths advertisers will go to spark social media conversation. Since relatively few people are interested in discussing new hardware, the campaign broadens the discussion with a bit of branded entertainment.” The UK Guardian even called the film “blockbuster caliber” and noted that the film could “potentially open up a new avenue in crowd-sourced film-making”.

Early indicators point to a huge success for Toshiba and Intel. Volume11 (full disclosure: the company I work for) provided distribution for the trailer above, and we’ve seen some pretty amazing organic lift for this trailer.

The film’s director solicited online auditions for supporting cast roles, but that’s not the most intriguing aspect of the social film. The “social” aspect of the film involves heroine reading Facebook posts and responding. Viewers can watch Christina post pictures and clues in the movie and respond back on Facebook to help her escape her captors. In fact, the tagline of the film is a positively brilliant one: “Her only way out is to bring you in”. An example of the social interaction surrounding the film involves our heroine’s webcam video post on Youtube from the Toshiba laptop. YouTube subscribers can of course engage by posting clues and suggestions for Christina.

There are other innovative characteristics to the film. The frightened Christina also posts other clues she finds in the room, including a torn take-out restaurant menu seen below.

Facebook users were so engaged in the hunt for clues, they scoured the internet to find a matching restaurant take-out menu. A few intrepid Facebook detectives found a match to a Chinese take-out restaurant, leading them to conclude that Christina is probably somewhere in the Los Angeles area near Yang Chow restuarant.

It’s hard to think of another online campaign which builds this degree of engagement. All told Inside: a Social Film is one of the most creative brand experiences we’ve come across to date. Oh and if you’re a gadet geek (like me) and want to check out Christina’s laptop, here’s the info. If you’d like to see the daily episodes, we’ve listed the below and will update the list as additional episodes come online. You can also view the movie at The Inside Experience. Enjoy!

Day 1, Monday 7-25-2011

Using Google+? Have an iPhone? Here’s How to Cure Android App Envy.

Since you’re reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you are aware of Google’s release of the long-awaited Google+. I’ll resist the banal references to a “Facebook killer” and I’ll also post additional thoughts as a user when I have time this weekend.

Unfortunately, a native iPhone app is in iTunes review limbo, even as a Google+ Android app was ready to go on release day. But there’s no need to have app envy. If you simply point Safari to plus.google.com, you’ll be able to access Google+ within your iPhone, providing you access to nearly everything available on the web or on Android phones.

Even better, all you geek-chic iPhone users can enjoy the convenience of an “app” right now, by following three simple steps. First, navigate over to plus.google.com within Safari on iOS as above. Next, notice the menu bar at the bottom of the screen up there. Click the share icon (third from the left). Now click on “Add to Home screen” as shown below, to the left. You’ll see an icon show up which looks exactly like the one shown below to the right (in the lower right hand corner of the icon grid).

There's our icon!

Congratulations, you’re all set. You may have noticed I mentioned iPhone users can do “almost everything” within Safari – yes, there are two minor limitations. The HTML5 version you’ve just linked to from your apps pages will not run Huddle (group chat) nor upload photos (thanks Hillary Hartley for the pointer). However, core Google+ functionality is all there, including  Stream, Circles, Profile, and Notifications (within the app).

Enjoy.

Update 2011.7.20: The new iphone app is available. No need for a hack now.