Can you imagine what it would have been like if you could have sent a tweet or comment to Larry David or Jerry Seinfeld telling them what you wanted to see on the next episode of Seinfeld and, when the show aired, seen your suggestion become a reality? These days, with the advent of web video, audience suggestion and participation is welcome and even encouraged. Recently, a variety of web video projects have put the creative power in the hands of the viewers, letting audiences “play God” and determine the content of the show. Read on for some examples, as well as an analysis of what this means for the future of entertainment.
Revision 3’s ‘Dan 3.0’
Revision 3 is partnering up with 20-year old YouTube celeb Dan Brown on a new web series called Dan 3.0. The project, which was announced last weekend at VidCon, will be the first web series built entirely off of viewer suggestions. A press release about Dan 3.0 explained how the show will work:
“Dan will solicit opinions from online fans about his daily activities, from what he will wear to his living arrangements. Audiences will vote and submit tasks for Dan to complete using a new and innovative community decision engine on Revision3.com. Users develop ideas and directly interact with each other to determine the content of the show. Dan will execute the most popular ideas on Dan 3.0.”
One episode will of Dan 3.0 will be released per day, for a year starting on August 2, 2010. Dan is putting his life and activities in the hands of his viewers, letting the audience be the directors, determining everything that will happen on the show. I think this is brilliant! Check out the video below of Dan announcing the new show at VidCon.
Burger King’s Subservient Chicken
Burger King’s Subservient Chicken, launched back in 2001, was one of the first great examples of an interactive web video project going viral. The Subservient Chicken website was based off of a Burger King commercial in which a man sat in his living room, directing a guy in a chicken suit to do whatever he wanted, leading to the tag line, “Chicken the way you like it.” On the Subservient Chicken website, viewers watch a guy in a chicken suit standing in a living room and are invited to type in commands (i.e. Do a jig, do a cartwheel, jump on one foot, etc.) and the chicken responds by doing what you tell him to do.
Why did the Subservient Chicken become such a success? I think that a lot of it has to do with the interactivity. I mean, who wouldn’t want to tell a guy in a chicken suit what to do? This campaign sort of paved the way for more interactive video experiences on the web.
David On Demand
While the Subservient Chicken was confined to a living room, many interactive video campaigns today put real live subjects out in the real world and let their audiences tell them what to do. A great example of this is David On Demand. In David On Demand, David Perez, a creative recruiter at Leo Burnett, donned web cam glasses at the Cannes Advertising Festival and did everything that his followers tweeted to him.
David didn’t have time to do literally everything that was tweeted to him, but he did manage to respond to some pretty bizarre requests, including getting a ridiculous haircut, getting a tattoo of the Twitter Fail Whale, giving away free kisses, pouring his drink in his lap and more.
While David On Demand viewers didn’t get to see a whole lot of the Cannes Advertising festival, they did get to have a lot of fun with David, telling him what to do and basically controlling his life during the event. There’s something so empowering about being able to send a tweet to a total stranger and then watch them do what you say in front of thousands of other viewers on the web.
David On Demand and the Subservient Chicken both gave viewers the power to make the content that they wanted to happen become a reality. It will be interesting to see how much further this concept will be taken with Revision 3’s Dan 3.0. Dan will be living his life according to viewers for a full year and I think that this could be the beginning of a new revolution in web video.
Just as if it would have been awesome to create your own episode of Seinfeld back in the day, it should be amazing to be able to tell web-celeb Dan what to do and then sit back and watch him do it. What will you ask him to do? To wear? Do you think that we will see a surge in viewer-controlled content in the future?