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Transmedia Q+A: Aina Abiodun

April 28, 2011

On Tuesday night, JWT held the TransmediaNYC Meetup in our offices, hosted by Aina Abiodun. Guests included “Culture Hacker” Lance Weiler of Head Trauma and Pandemic fame as well as Feeder: A Love Story creator James Carter. Here are Aina’s thoughts about Transmedia:

Ad+Geek: Define Transmedia in your words.
Aina Abiodun: Transmedia is a style of storytelling in which one core narrative idea sprouts many rich, new story tentacles across media platforms. Adapting or repeating the same story over and over on different platforms doesn’t count. Each platform should deliver a completely new experience to the audience.

Ad+Geek: What are some of your favorite examples?
AA: The 2008 Presidential Election. I think it was the most supremely overlooked example of recent Transmedia. Look back closely at all the media artifacts of his campaign you will observe that Obama was in strategy and swagger, the real life John Wayne of our era. And his narrative played how all good stories play, with a hero, some fierce battles, and a transformation.

World Without Oil was also brilliant – and an often-cited example because it succeeds in pulling the viewer into the realm of real world issues in an immersive and engaging way across platforms. Laying out the conditions of a world oil shortage, the audience had to imagine and document their lives under those conditions.

Ad+Geek: How do you see it melding with the world of advertising?
AA: The idea that as creators of media we must relentlessly go where the audiences are is long ingrained in the culture of advertising and I’ve already seen some very impressive brand Transmedia work. I’m excited to see the variety and scope of the projects that are sure to come out of the agencies as Transmedia becomes more mainstream.

Ad+Geek: What are some misconceptions about Transmedia?
AA: A big misconception that I encounter among longtime media-makers is this notion that Transmedia is too “techy”. While we use a host of technology-based solutions to deliver the message, we work first and foremost in service of the narrative. That’s like saying that talking on the phone is “too techy”. The phone delivers the message. I like to say that if you understand story, then you can understand Transmedia.

Ad+Geek: How did you get involved with Transmedia?
AA: I stumbled into it while working on the release of a feature film I produced a few years ago. I was looking for more effective ways of finding and engaging audiences. With just a little Transmedia work, I found the results were significant. So, excited at the possibilities, I began developing original Transmedia properties, and went on pitches only to discover that Hollywood had no taste for this newfangled experimentation. So I decamped to New York where I have happily found that the combination of creativity, technology and many individual forward-thinking minds make for a fertile Transmedia development world.

For more, check out the “Transmedia Rising” report from JWTIntelligence.

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