In one of the more innovative brand partnerships in recent years, TED (the non for profit organisation dedicated to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’) has linked with 20th Century Fox and director Ridley Scott on a viral campaign subtly promoting the director’s Alien prequel Prometheus.
TED’s 18-minute inspirational talks, from superstar thinkers across the creative, technology, cultural and industrial spaces, are themselves a viral phenomenon. So Scott leverages this trend in order to spread the digital hype around his forthcoming film by shooting an ‘official’ film-related TED Talk.
For marketers looking to spread messages virally, what better format to use than an existing uber-successful viral vehicle like a TED Talk?
Set in the future, the talk is given by one of the film’s main characters Peter Weyland (played by Guy Pierce).
Hardcore fans of the Alien series will recognise the name, if not the character himself, as his company Weyland Industries has been thee sinister corporate lurking in the background through the whole Alien series.
The talk itself, dated 2023 and delivered to a futuristic stadium that is big enough to intimidate even the most sage of real TED speakers, comes complete with mocked up versions of today’s social media threads.
A huge screen behind Pierce’s character carries the usual TED live Twitter feed complete with links like #TED http://bit.ly/tgwQvj which resolves to the movie trailer itself on the iTunes Movie Trailers site.
The collaboration sees the TED Talk released digital by TED itself through its usual digital distribution channels.
The embedded video was on YouTube channel, but is also available in 1080p on the TED site where it can be downloaded and where there is also an interview with the screen writer about the idea behind the video here.
This certainly may not be classic, old school traditional sponsorship, but it is most definitely an innovative collaboration between two brands with a clear synergy.
This is an alliance in which both parties share a tone, a format, a distribution approach and, yes, perhaps even a vision about exploring ideas, creativity and the origin and future of mankind.
According to reports, the idea for the viral talk was conceived and designed by Ridley Scott and screenwriter Damon Lindelof and the web film was directed by Luke Scott (Ridley’s son!).
Perhaps Lindelof was one of the first people to realise how to collaborate in a way that turns an organisation like TED into a mass market media platforms.