Again, props to The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) for acting on Suzanne Collin’s critique of social inequalities that define The Hunger Games dystopian world. Looking through the posts, HPA has partnered with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and members are posting pics of their three-fingered salutes!
HPA defines the goals of We are the Districts as
And HPA has created a set of badges representing key social concerns
I love HPA. Thank you. You can check it out here:
Thank you HPA for kickstarting a campaign to counter the crass commercialism of Lionsgate’s marketing campaign for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire!
From the new site:
“Who controls the narrative? The rich and powerful tell us that if we put our heads down and work hard, we can overcome the odds and join the ranks of the victors — the wealthy and privileged few. However, it’s increasingly clear that the game is rigged, and that we have an important role to play: At best, we are the loyal consumers. At worst, we are the ones who slip through the cracks.
And that’s why we’re taking back the narrative. The Hunger Games explores numerous themes that are relevant to the imbalances that exist in our world. In Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen solidifies her role as a symbol for change and sets the resistance in motion. Thus, the release of the Catching Fire film represents a perfect opportunity to establish a dialogue about our own problems and set the wheels in motion for positive change. Instead, Catching Fire is being used as an opportunity to sell makeup and fast-food sandwiches.
And we have a very simple response to that: Not on our watch…”
Fans are posting selfies with the three finger salute – love this!
you can join here:
Just found this online & I’m loving that The Harry Potter Alliance is hacking the media spin on the latest Hunger Games: Catching Fire film. Great example of a fan created transmedia extension!
My Sept. post critiqued the Cover Girl marketing campaign as it was ramping up
With November 22 now 2 months & 22 days away, you have to love Lionsgate’s commitment to marketing the vacuous superficial lifestyle of the Capitol Panem, which if you’ve read The Hunger Games Trilogy, you know is functionally a hyped up runway version of the Death Star.
Cover Girl’s commercial above proclaims: ’12 districts . 12 looks. 1 collection’ – Hurray! no mention of brutality & deaths here!
Check out the Capitol Couture Tumblr page which has just launched its fall fashion issue, glamourizing the first of many could-be or soon-to-be-dead ‘stars’ of the games.
If you know Johanna’s story, you know that because of her choices (won’t say what), her loved ones are killed in retaliation. And that she is tortured at a later point… won’t go into details.
Yet meanwhile over on Capitol Couture we have this fashion mag blurb. The last line seems pointedly weird given that Collins’ makes the lack of agency and control the Tributes have over their bodies such a key theme of the series: ‘During make up, Mason doesn’t fidget as her artist adheres three-inch eyelashes to her lower…’
In The Hunger Games, Cinna warns Katniss not to resist & to do everything that her stylists want her to do. The implication is pretty clear that to resist is to risk extreme punishment or death, perhaps not one’s own death, but one’s loved ones potentially.
Check out the glamourized pic of Mags below & the accompanying text which also misreads the works, as Collins via Katniss is explicit in her presentation of Panem as a society that eschews aging, preferring extreme plastic surgery and thinness in a rejection of ‘aging with dignity and grace.’
That we have a ratings score on pout is a bit of an obscenity, to be blunt.
I continue to be mystified by Lionsgate’s focus on the Capitol in promoting the film. In the lead up to the launch of The Hunger Games, Lionsgate & China Glaze teamed up with the Capitol Colours, with a line of 12 colours, one for each district and fantastic polish names like Foie Gras, Agro, Smoke and Ashes…
One blogger posted a breakdown of the colours in the spirit of Capitol Couture here with enticing yet paradoxical descriptions such as:
‘Smoke & Ashes (District 12- Mining): Even though I’m not typically drawn to black nail polishes, I had to have this one (the fact that it is district 12’s color and I may or may not be in love with 2 of district 12’s leading men may have something to do with this). The finely milled glitter flecks found in Smoke & Ashes are a mixture of blue, green, silver and purple, making this polish resemble the night sky – OBSESSED!’
Yes, indeed, paradoxical as the smoke and ashes are increasingly unpleasant as the series continues. The decision to market cosmetics to promote the film was fabulously expressed by Tim Palen, Lionsgate’s chief marketing officer, who said:
“Having a nail polish for the rabid young girl fan base to relate to our movie on a personal level feels smart.”
Monica Corcoran Harel quoted Palen in a biting article in NY Times in March 2012, ‘Forget the Plot. What Nail Polish Is She Wearing?‘ and her criticism is just as valid in the push to the second film as it was in the first:
“…[because] the film’s characters are too busy murdering each other to get manicures, the nail polishes are sold as products worn by the extras…”
Fans over at The Hunger But Mostly Death Games, thankfully, parodied the marketing campaign, launching their own line of nail polish, with colours replicating the pus oozing tracker jacker stings that kill Glimmer and numerous other brutal details of Collins’ series.
So here we go again, now with major ads out in Vogue & other magazines, this time with Cover Girl partnering. Now you have to admire an ad that so blatantly promotes the Capitol in Cover Girl’s enthusiastic endorsement of Panem: ‘Coming to the Capitol this Fall’!
So in the fictional world of The Hunger Games, Cover Girl is then the make-up of choice of the stylists who handle the body modifications & glamourizing of those 24 Tributes, 23 of whom will die? Surely, someone in house has read the book or has a son or daughter who has read the series!
“Capitol Fashionistas have a very big reason to look forward to autumn. Just announced, a premiere line of beauty products brought to you by the perennial COVERGIRL — The Capitol Collection — will soon arrive to glam the glamorous. This Collection promises to inspire a new era of expressive beauty through make-up. Keep tabs on Capitol Couture for exclusive reveals and get ready to discover a new ‘you’ this fall.”
What oh what will this marketing campaign do next? It’s very deja vu to revisit my case study on the campaign for the first film, here, and see exactly the same problematic choices being replayed. Given how dark this series is, you really don’t want to be on the Dark Side. And the Dark Side doesn’t fare well in the end either.
The comments on Cover Girl’s commercial are predominantly critical:
‘any one feel a little bit scared out now’
‘To agree with them others: When this came on TV… I nearly shat nightlock’
‘Btw I’ve got nothing against people who like/use lots of makeup – but to do a promotion around this?!? *shakes head*’
Even the raves show tinges of guilt at buying in to the commercial sell:
‘Does it make me a crazy district 1 person if I am like.. super excited to waste my money and buy all of it? Because.. I am.’
So…. yet again, I’m hanging in to see how long it’s going to take for Lionsgate to shift the focus from the unequivocally evil Panem to the counter forces that Katniss represents. Seriously. What is Lionsgate going to do for The Mockingjay??? Promote a make-up line for civil war? for terrorism? Seriously.
Having thoroughly enjoyed Max Brook’s Zombie thriller novel, I’ve been wondering where the pre-launch transmedia campaign for World War Z is and last night I finally had some spare time to track it…
I finally had a bit of time for some blogging!
See on transmediacamp101.com
As we countdown to Arrested Development’s launch day, May 26, I’m riveted by the potential impact of Netflix’s all-in-one season on the future of storytelling. Key is creator Mitch Hurwitz’s decision to construct the episodes as what one could call, following the experimentations of hypertext and database narratives, a recombinatory narrative system, but with a difference. As Willa Paskin notes in her feature in Wired on March 19th, 2013: ”It’s something new—a collection of episodes released altogether that can be remixed and recombined and that gain something from each juxtaposition… Each episode will cover events from a different character’s point of view, like a comedic Rashomon. There will be moments and Easter eggs that will make sense only in retrospect. There will be a suggested viewing sequence, but it will be possible—even rewarding—to watch out of sequence.”
The more I think about the experimental possibilities of what Sara Thacher calls “‘Web-Native’ TV,” the richer future I see as, while the concept at play may be new for television, this model of spatial, fragmented and shifting narrative is well-established in other media, meaning there is a wealth of knowledge that can be drawn upon for this kind of experimentation. Netflix is now mainstreaming what has existed in film and literature for decades as postmodern subversive play with fragmentation, point of view, narrative in/coherence, and the spatial, distributed, and associative design that underlies much interactive/experimental cinema, and interactive documentaries – iDocs – in particular.
What we’re seeing is content design responding to platform and to audience – what Paskin describes as ‘television built be binged’ based on Netflix’s knowledge of audience viewing behaviour Where Hurwitz earlier toyed with the idea of using a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ model, the exiting recombinatory model creates a new challenge for the audience as the order of episodes you choose will impact on how you view and empathize with characters through given sequences. It’s this effect that has me jumping up and down inside!
Portia de Rossi (Lindsay Bluth Fünke) describes how “I did a scene with Jessica [Walter, who plays Lindsay’s mother], where she seemed to be saying the nastiest things, in my mind, because it was so sarcastic…But in her episode, you realize that she was being sincere. If you see my episode first, u’re like, ‘That fucking bitch.’ But if you see hers first, I look completely heartless.” (Paskin, Wired).
What I love about this is the dilemma I am now consciously aware of – which episode will I watch first? How will my construction of a linear viewing sequence impact my understanding of the whole? What are the other variables between different POV episodes? This really is a delicious dilemma as once I’ve chosen I can’t go back & recover my narrative innocence – return to a state of ‘unknown unknowns.’ (Ah…the shadow of Rumsfeld…) Once I watch one, the rubic’s cube of known unknowns will start to take shape as the story map of scenes and interactions is revealed. In the meantime, Arrested Development Season Four looks like it will offer one of the best forms of interactivity, which I started writing about in the context of interactive narrative design watching Nolan’s Memento.Though screened as a linear-viewing experience, the complications of the interwoven time-lines and unstable status of the narrative threads made for a cognitive interaction that was extremely active, as I worked to align and realign story threads & my understanding of character status. Think Barthes’ active engagement with the writerly text now derailing TV’s more often passive medium with Netflix’ disruption of TV’s traditional serial/sequential viewing.
With Arrested Development, I’m going to bet that Hurwitz has crafted a viewing experience that will drive fans back for multiple repeat views, binge viewing continued in excess over time with the aim of mentally constructing and reconstructing the narrative whole. I often find that at the end of power viewing a series over a weekend that I’ve lost track of details in the first episodes & I want to rewatch in order to recover narrative coherence. Here too, no doubt, Netflix’s data analytics can provide insights on viewer habits of rewatching fave content in Netflix’s flat fee context. That audience loyalty is about to get rewarded as layers of AD narrative complexity will be presumably revealed in multiple viewings. Let the agonizing hilarity begin.
Alyssa Rosenberg also has an excellent post on “Why ‘Arrested Development Really Represents a Breakthrough for Netflix“
And Randy Finch has one here: ‘Will Arrested Development on Netflix Make Storytelling News?’