USA Network Goes Viral with ‘4400’ Videos, Events

By May 30, 2007

USA Network is backing the upcoming season of “The 4400” with video promotions and events that give viewers a chance to live out a fictional storyline from the series.

The campaign, which launched last week, follows a debate around a fictional drug, called Promicin, which either kills the people who take it or gives them the chance to develop superhuman abilities. The theme builds off the show’s third season, in which the lead character, Jordan Collier, handed out 17,000 doses of the injection to the public.

USA is playing into that storyline to hype up the fourth season of the science-fiction drama “The 4400,” which begins June 17 at 9 p.m. ET. A fake public debate was created around the drug through a video campaign.

A series of Web sites offer more than 70 Web videos, which cover all sides of the debate. The main site at The4400.com directs visitors to explore three areas before taking their own position on the topic. One at PromicinPower.com site supports the drug’s distribution, while PromicinTerror.com is an anti-Promicin site. For undecided viewers, PromicinInfo.com site acts as an informational hub for the campaign.

The drama follows the lives of 4,400 people who return to Earth after being abducted by aliens. Executives have high hopes their latest campaign will invigorate new life in the show. Banner ads, wildpostings and murals support the promotion.

“What this does for new viewers is it gives them a way in, and it gives returning fans a chance to delve in even more,” a USA Network spokesperson said.

Viewers can also get in on the act. Fans can film and upload their own Promicin political videos on YouTube.

“It gives viewers a chance to be part of the main debate on the show,” said Gregg Hale, president and creative director for Campfire Media, the interactive agency handling the campaign.

In addition, Campfire is hitting the streets in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. with live events to further immerse people in the show. It’s taking a fictitious character it created for the promotion and is bringing him to life.

The character, named Chris Morris, tells people he took Promicin and it gave him the ability to make people dance. He will travel to the four cities over the next few weeks to demonstrate that “ability” through live events. A camera crew will be on hand filming people who dance with Morris and the footage may appear on various Web sites tied to the campaign.

The first event took place in New York on Saturday.

“We decided to play on the lighter side of this debate,” Hale said. “We wanted to kind of embrace people and pull them in in a positive way.”

Another Web site, Promicindance.com, which kicked off Monday, features Morris and his ability to release people’s inner dancing abilities.

The events will “make people think, ‘What is this?’ It will get people to think about the show in a different way,” Hale said.

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