Creating a sponsored community

synecdochic at Live Journal writes about being approached by the makers of the forthcoming film Blood & Chocolate to create a fan community to accompany the film:

A month and a half or so ago, the marketing agency for MGM Studios contacted us — us being LJ — and said they wanted to set up a sponsored community for the upcoming release of their movie “Blood & Chocolate”. Except they were totally clueless about how LJ worked, what would be successful, what would sink like a rock without even leaving a splash, etc, so they said: why don’t you guys figure out what would work best? And then they said, hey, we hear that LJ is a place where online fandom tends to congregate. What could we do to reach out to that community?

I want to be really careful about the disclaimers up front here, but I also want to talk about it, because it’s one of the most intriguing challenges I’ve had as a writer so far, and also, I think the end result that we all came up with is one of the most interesting, compelling, and just plain fucking cool premises for a marketing campaign I’ve ever seen.

The whole post is well worth reading as a fascinating example of an industry reaching out to online fans and the thought processes behind how you get people to invest in a community they didn’t generate and how to translate that into spending money on the product. In brief, they came up with a scheme to create a livejournal diary written by the main character, getting synecdochic, a fanfic writer, to pen the diary and (I’m assuming) to respond to comments on the diary in character. All in all, totally cool concept and it’ll be fascinating to see how it works.

Comments (2) to “Creating a sponsored community”

  1. have you been following much the dustup over at el-jay about sponsored communities? it has quite a history as far as userbase communication. synecdochic is also someone that if you follow el-jay you might know better under another name, by the way *hinthint*.

  2. I haven’t, though it gets hinted at in her post. Up for providing a little summary? Following LJ is quite the challenge, though I keep tabs as best I can via the links in my sidebar. What’s your take on sponsored communities?