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Intel Harnesses Viewer Interaction In Video Series

On Wednesday, Intel released the trailer for the fourth installment of its Inside Film series. In this year’s video, “What Lives Inside,”  Intel partners with Dell for the first time and dives into a new genre, fantasy. Directed by two-time Oscar-winner Robert Stromberg and starring recent Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, Colin Hanks, and Catherine O’Hara, the film centers around Taylor (Hanks), the son of a well-known children’s puppeteer (Simmons). When his father dies, Taylor goes on an adventure through a world of his dad’s creations with the help of the Intel-powered Dell Venue 8 7000 Series tablet. The first episode will premiere March 25, exclusively on Hulu.

When Intel launched its first film,The Power Inside,” in 2011, it was groundbreaking. The campaign focused on story, not product; it was long-form, episodic content with Hollywood street cred, which was not as common then as it is today. And it relied on user interaction to further the plot of the story.

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It was a gamble, but one that paid off handsomely for Intel (and its partner on the first three films, Toshiba). The series has won 70 awards, including 15 Cannes Lions. That’s to say nothing of the 200 million views the series has garnered so far for Intel and Toshiba.

One of the secrets to this success is the brand's use of adaptive marketing, or activities that allow the brand to capitalize on the ongoing waves of consumer conversations online. [Adaptive marketing] means creating a value exchange with that audience so they will happily give you their time in exchange for engaging with your marketing,” says Billie Goldman, Intel’s co-marketing manager.

All of the videos make viewers central characters in the story, but in different way. In the first film, viewers dictated the fate of the main character, while in the second they were given roles in the film. In the latest iteration. consumers design the fantastical characters found in Taylor’s magical world.

“The beauty of film is that there are so many potential genres and stories that can include a social component to give the audience the opportunity to participate,” says Goldman. “When we win the opportunity to create a new social film, we ideate anew to ensure that we are tapping into the social platforms that 18- to 34-years-olds are using today versus those they were using yesterday, and that the concept incorporates a new way to engage the audience."

The company previously used other social platforms for video distribution, but is now focused only on Hulu. With the new algorithms rolled out by Google, Facebook, etc., the same degree of virality that we once achieved three years ago is no longer possible,”  Goldman adds. “Instead we are focusing on working with platforms where our audience already goes…. We felt Hulu was the best partner based on our target audience and their usage behaviors.”

By making the focus of every campaign the consumer, not the product, and using universal themes, Intel has found a winning formula for capturing consumer attention again and again.

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