The Secret History of TRANSMEDIA part 1.

No, not really secret, but certainly not things Ive heard or seen mentioned online in all the “transmedia” blogs Ive noticed in the last few years. Since I was doing work like this with others for over 20 years now, both pre and post ” web”, I thought Id bang out some thoughts and projects and people who I look at as pioneering “modern electric media” as I look at it, as “transmedia”. Ill make a few of these posts in the future for all to comment on.

Lets talk Disney. To my way of thinking about transmedia, and it’s 360 reach, I would say that the “MICKEY MOUSE CLUB” was the first TRUE transmedia Disney produced. Although Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone had major TV hits, the “toy” craze for hats and popguns only came after. The earlier Disney Films or toons all truly only had “hot traditional licensed merchandizing” around them as well. And each films/cartoons characters reach was only as good as the films box office or a single characters success with an audience.

But the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, then followed by THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY for nightime family viewers.. seems to me to be the forgotton birth of the “world design” needed for a true transmedia ip. The “Clubhouse”  and its “kids” and “adult” supervisors were the core mechanism to “open ended” adventures and stories and product selling. Each week “new storyworlds” were test marketed, and new franchise brands offered. New products and clothing show off by the kids, new music and songs sung, new celebrities made as they grew up…lets not forget that this formula didnt just give us Annette Funicello(who” sounds off the digerarti?)– uh… well Disney later gave us britney, justin, and christina using the same methods of transmedia again in the 90s when they went to a full on network on cable.

 The show hilighted original animation, short films, as well as being one of the earliest “electric teachers” of pop morality for a generation. Everything about the CLUB, including the “mail in” fan structure, cereals, and free club gifts, was designed to market DISNEY and lead to the DISNEYLAND that soon would be built, to complete the mediation and take his media  into reality. We all know how the rest goes. World Mouse Domination by the turn of the century.;)

So, The Mickey Mouse Club is my first entry into transmedias secret history posts.  let’s see more about it it on more transmedia blogs… And BTW for all those with “transmedia story blogs” – its HAD NO “story”…it was a “container for stories”… a much better plan, based on it’s success, wouldnt you agree?:)

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3 Responses to The Secret History of TRANSMEDIA part 1.

  1. Larry, thanks for the comment on my blog and the link back to this post. I think MMC is a great example of a non-fiction transmedia initiative, the kind of thing Disney has nailed for years, but your distinction between “story” and “container” (or better yet, “storyworld”) is splitting hairs a bit. I’d argue MMC’s story was a sense of community, family almost, with Disney at the center, not unlike the series of Coke commercials for the Happiness Factory.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Secret History of TRANSMEDIA part 1. « Cubic Space – Virtual Worlds and Experience -- Topsy.com

  3. cubicspace says:

    “STORY” has been as much as ” MARKETING” the driving sell words of what i see as TRANSMEDIA online today. I find both used too broadly by either camps pundits and also regret the losing of specific defination and processes/ formats for presentation, that both had/have. I personally have used the word “conceit” to describe the “overal world and its reality and style” when creating an IP for multimedium growth. I read your article on “terminlogy in transmedia” and yes, its all a word game, but I have seen over an over that “story” and “marketing” are too loaded a term for most.
    As to MMC, I would call it fiction, since everything but the first names were scripted and rehearsed. And It was a “clubhouse” fiction at the core, used to sell other IPs and products of various media types. I dont know of the coke project other than a STYLE WORLD for an ad campaign i saw online and on TV. I assume a ARG was made as well? But I think the MMC was a much deeper, much more culturally deep reaching product.

    Are the shows on the web? youtube? if not– that is a very interesting issue as to IP as well… but id check them out. KIDS tv for 60 years has been much closer to what modern media types are lableing transmedia, and a few products over those decades truly did reach transmedia status BY design and investment.

    The term “vehicle” is also an older word used for many of these types of products/projects/ etc. Again. “used to suggest the “containment of many pieces” in “one core reality” to “get somewhere”.. usually the bank:) or for some to the ego of artist.:)

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