'Political Animals' uses fictional news site to engage fans

By Natan Edelsburg Comment

USA Network’s busy summer continues with the recent launch “Political Animals“, a new (limited series) political drama starring Sigourney Weaver as a Hillary Clinton-type lead navigating political and personal drama. The show’s second episode premiered last night and was launched across the web with the help of social TV experts Campfire.

We spoke to Campfire’s Partner and Creative Director Steve Coulson about their role in creating an experience to unleash the show to fans. They smartly worked to take the fictional Washington Globe from the show and bring it to life with the show’s writers and producers. Each week Campfire will be launching content to compliment the episode at WashingtonGlobeNews.com. Here are the details:

Lost Remote: How did Campfire come up with the concept?

Steve Coulson: Campfire’s work for USA Network’s “Political Animals” is designed as a storyworld extension, allowing viewers to immerse themselves deeper into the fictional world where Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver) is Secretary of State, filling in a lot of the backstory of the characters and political landscape. Given that the story revolves around a fictional newspaper, The Washington Globe, it was a no brainer to develop that further, creating both the newspaper itself and a special edition magazine section, “W.” The newspaper allows us to launch new weekly content that ties directly into the events of the previous episode and bridge the gap until the next. The magazine content is more evergreen, providing stories, images and video that introduce the characters themselves.

LR: What are the social angles?

Coulson: We’ve tried to use social platforms in the same realistic way that a modern newspaper would use them. The site uses advanced responsive design, allowing it to be read on the widest range of devices and platforms. All content elements utilize the Livefyre commenting platform for audience participation, and as with any publication, all content includes social share technology.

In addition, we’ve created an Instagram feed for this world’s President, with daily updates that include candid images of White House. Future photos will tie directly into plot events and be synchronized in real time. All Instagram images are also posted to a Tumblr site to promote social sharing.

LR: Anything else to add?

Coulson: We’ve managed to work with a great team of creators to bring this to life. The cast has participated in a series of exclusive videos for the site, and we are creating the weekly video blogs for the show’s The Washington Globe blogger Georgia Gibbons.