Sundance's new Euro drama, The Returned, starts its disturbing run on the AMC Networks cabler Thursday at 9 p.m. And to celebrate its creepy premise—the undead try to return to their lives and find … well, a lot of problems—the network has come up with an inventive, interactive promo (see below) that directs the viewer to choose "Life" or "Death."
The main difference seems to be that the "Death" choice is more depressing, but if you watch the show, it'll make more sense—some people, when faced with the resurrection of their loved ones, just can't deal with it. It's a similar premise (though much better executed) to the ambitious BBC/Starz miniseries Torchwood: Miracle Day, which didn't really pay off.
Engagement is top-of-mind for pretty much everybody in the digital space these days, and marketers are coming up with novel ways to boost it; we've all seen the U..K's Skip Button ad, and approaches like these may help to drag in the curious.
On the surface, The Returned would seem to demand an inventive marketing campaign since it's fighting an uphill battle against subtitle-averse TV viewers. But the show is already landing raves, so we'll see whether critical acclaim and cool marketing can beat assumed passivity on Friday—Sundance has had a good run lately with Rectify and Top of the Lake.