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!