Samsung Strands Socially Connected On Island
Samsung is stranding eight people on a deserted island, but in a reality programming twist, they will be allowed to communicate with the outside world as they fend for themselves on the island and compete against each other.
The online competition series, “SOS Island: Survival of the Smartest,” begins webcasting this week through a mix of live programming, online video streaming, taped competitive segments and social media. The contestants will live on the island for two weeks. They will have Samsung Galaxy products and compete in challenges to build shelters, locate necessities and navigate the island, all while communicating with the outside world to drum up votes from the public.
“We're marooning them on an island for two weeks,” Tom Bannister, CEO of SXM, the production company creating the series, tells Marketing Daily. “The key point of difference is we have allowed contestants to do what they do best and interact with social media.”
Among the eight contestants (who were winnowed from 16 last week after going through training with survival expert Les Stroud) are four from the United States (Rosy McMichael, Chris Thompson, Brittany Joyal and Karen Constant), one from South Africa (Jo Crawshaw), one from the U.K. (Graham Hughes) one from Israel (Liron Maimon) and one from Turkey (Mert Erdir).
“They are all very savvy social media people from different countries,” Bannister says. “We're trying to fit reality TV into the social media of 2013.”
The series begins this week with two weeks of live episodes through which the public will be able interact with the contestants. The episodes will showcase the communal living on the island and the eight contestants’ personalities.
Beginning Oct. 22, the series will stream 12 taped episodes featuring challenges that were conducted while the contestants were on the island. The contestants, who would have returned home when they stream, will continue to encourage fans to vote for them online. The winner will receive $100,000 that they may use to purchase their own deserted island or accommodations on a more inhabited one, Bannister says.
Although the show contains many elements familiar to viewers of reality programming (competition, etc.), the tone of the shows will be markedly different from typical programming, Bannister says.
“If you think about [most] reality programming, the producers get crazy people together in a crazy environment and get them to behave in a crazy way,” he says. “It's a bit of a gamble with our show; we want to show the best sides of people without all the bickering.”