There you are watching a tv show, and someone on the show needs to use a social network or search engine, so they end up on facepage.com or moogle.com… Why do they do this, rather than just use the sites we all know?
The issue is partly that the use of an established brand will probably require a deal the producers don’t want to do. It could be because it would cause issues internationally, due to product placement laws. So what are the alternatives…
Well, you could make up a site domain, but there is a chance someone already has that domain and you get sued for using it without permission… Or a fan sees the show, goes and buys some web hosting (like 1and1 windows hosting), and a site that the show has no control over.
Another possibility would be to buy the domain, and leave it blank, but thats a bit boring… If you want to really do a bit of extra work, and go to the trouble of setting up a fake website, it not only help immerse the fans in your tv show world, but also gives you a wonderful viral advertising opportunity! Here are some of our favourites:
HIMYM, and in particular the character of Barney, has a long tradition of making up fake websites (see also tedmosbyisajerk.com), but it’s his ridiculously over-the-top video resume that takes it over of all of them!
If you’re a True Blood supping member of True Blood’s mainstreaming vampires, you will of course be familiar with the AVL – The friendly fanged face of the vampire community. Their website has a number of messages from recent ‘voice’ of the AVL, Steve Newlin, along with people using the comments to express their views on vampires…
The personal blog of Dr. John H. Watson, sidekick to the allegedly deceased Sherlock Holmes, including videos showing BBC news reports about Sherlock’s demise… There’s also a number of comments between Holmes and Watson on some of the posts which are highly entertaining.
What I love about the fake website for author Richard Castle is it’s only semi-fake… Whilst all the info about the fictional Castle is fake, the site itself is actually promoting and selling genuine Richard Castle books, written by a Richard Castle (although ABC are rather tightlipped about the authors real identity!) There is a Q&A section where you can post your questions to Castle, and ‘he’ even has a facebook page and twitter feed!
For the movie Prometheus, the producers created this huge site covering all sorts of the films mythology. I’m rather fond of the David 8 section which involves Michael Fassbender’s very very slight changes in facial expressions to show the ’emotional range’ in the new android model. ;)
There’s something rather sweet about the attention to detail on this site (well it is Disney/Pixar!). It’s obviously promoting the prequel to 2001’s Monster Inc, where Mike and Sulley are are still in college, learning their trade in the ‘School of Scaring’, but it’s the extra little bits about the schools and upcoming events that really sell it. Shame they couldn’t wrangle a genuine .edu domain name, that would have been awesome!