As an advertising student with a penchant for all things digital, the idea of the webisode is one that excites me greatly – and an idea I often visit and revisit when devising campaigns.
The webisode, as I have experienced it in practice, is a chance for a brand to demonstrate personality and the ability to keep up with hipster quirk. I pitched a campaign to TAC (Transport Accident Commission) featuring webisodes with offbeat characters in an attempt to convey road safety messages to a younger crowd than the traditional TVC may reach. They jumped all over it.
An example of an award-winning campaign that utilises the webisode as the main vehicle to engage with the target audience is ‘The Boosted Inspiration Series’ for Boost chocolate bars. The campaign was created by Droga5 agency in Sydney. The webisodes drove consumers back to the brand’s facebook page where they could further interact with the campaign. The first webisode to be released, and the most popular with viewers, is ‘Moreing’.
In terms of television, the webisode serves not as the primary driver, but rather as a bite/byte that whets the appetite. Says Max Dawson, webisodes have ‘facilitated the dilation of television’s intricate narratives’ (p.2). The webisode below, ‘A Drop of True Blood’, is a 3 minute and 24 second ‘minisode’ (a moniker Dawson attributes to Sony Pictures Television) that encapsulates personality traits and complex interpersonal relationships between two of True Blood’s secondary characters – Eric and Pam . Whilst certainly drawing upon ‘recognisable elements’ of the source text, ‘A Drop of True Blood’ does more than just ‘distil [the] vast and complex’ diorama that is Bon Temps.
As suggested by the name of the webisode, – ‘a conspicuous temporal cue’ (p.4) – ‘A Drop of True Blood’ was but a taste of the show. But it was enough of an appetizer to make me want to dive straight back in.
Dawson, M (2011) “Television’s Aesthetic of Efficiency: Convergence Television and the Digital Short”, in Television as Digital Media, eds. James Bennett and Niki Strange. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books.