BBC Future of TV Social Media

Inside BBC Three's transmedia campaign ahead of the Thirteen premiere

By Matthias Puschmann, Managing Director

March 10, 2016 | 3 min read

Matthias Puschmann is the managing director of Vast Media, a media research and consulting company based in Berlin that provides international television industry leaders with qualitative competitive market analysis of digital entertainment and content marketing.

On 28 February BBC Three premiered Thirteen, its first original drama since the channel went entirely online in mid-February. The five-episode drama tells the story of Ivy Moxam, a young woman who escapes after thirteen years of being held captive by a kidnapper. Coinciding with the premiere of the series, BBC Three launched the '#FindTheGirl' campaign, a transmedia project that invites viewers to step into the world of Thirteen, where another young girl has been taken and they can help save her by joining the investigation.

The interactive experience started on the day of the series premiere with a vlog of the (fictional) would-be journalist Sarah Hays, who stumbled across a crime scene in Bristol and shared a video of her discovery on YouTube and Twitter. A young girl is missing and Hayes asks for the users' help to '#FindTheGirl' so that Ivy Moxam's story does not happen again.

To let the users keep track of Sarah Hays' investigation, BBC Three launched a #FindTheGirl blog and the Twitter account @IAmSarahHays, on which the journalist shares the latest developments and discoveries made by her and/or the users. On Twitter, she additionally interacts with the users and discusses theories and leads.

Clues and leads on who the kidnapper of the young girl might be can be found both in the series and online, where BBC Three set up faux websites for the users to poke around on. The first lead on who might have taken the girl was for example included in the series, where a man called Mark White was mentioned. Following the users' suggestion to check him out, Sarah Hayes soon shares the link to a school website where White used to work and asks her followers to help her hack it and find any useful information.

As another task for her fellow investigators, Sarah Hays for example set up a social search from around the abduction site and asks the users to browse through the Facebook and Twitter posts to look for further leads. The social media posts reveal the missing girl's name, Phoebe, which is only later revealed in the series and gives the users a lead in knowledge.

The users' online search for the missing girl will accompany the series throughout the season and keep them engaged in-between the episodes.

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