For new television shows – especially those with a genre bent – the prospect of getting fans to feel involved with the series even ahead of the first episode premiering is an enticing one, as it allows the show to gain some brand recognition that, in these days of social media and Internet chatter, could translate into free publicity and positive word-of-mouth at just the right time to allow the show to make an impact in front of the network bean counters. When looked at as part of that trend, the idea that a show would ask the Internet to create its title sequence is either a bold move or a potentially crazy one… or, of course, somewhere in between.
Executive producer Carlton Cuse – formerly one of the two men in charge of ABC’s Lost – and cable channel A&E, however, have fearlessly turned to Facebook to come up with the opening titles for its upcoming series Bates Motel, based on the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho. The contest was announced via Facebook and the Hollywood Reporter, with those interested having until January 3 to come up with a fifteen-second video that best teases the atmosphere of a show that follows the childhood of Norman Bates and his domineering mother Norma.
“We want to give fans the chance to participate in the show,” Cuse – whose Carlton Cuse Productions company is responsible for the show in partnership with Universal Television – explained. “We’re looking for an awesome 15-second title sequence that captures the feel of Bates Motel — not as a slasher/horror show, but as a complex, character-based thriller.”
Those interested in entering the contest can check out the rules on Facebook, but the short version of what’s needed is very simple: A video submission in .mov or .mp4 format that’s no larger than 20MB (Preferably 853 x 480 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio) to upload to the site, and clicking on the “Like” button for the official Bates Motel page. Yes, you have to “like” the show before you can enter; suddenly, the stealth marketing aspect of the contest becomes a little bit more clear, but it’s so sneaky as to be just a little bit of genius – Currently, the show only has 753 likes, but the more people that enter the contest, the more likes the show will have, meaning the more visible it will become within Facebook, meaning the more likely it’ll be to have more people tuning in when the show actually debuts next year. Everybody wins… Well, mostly the people behind Bates Motel and the person who actually wins the contest, but you know what I mean.
The winner will be chosen by Cuse, based upon how well he feels that it fits the series’ tone and feel; the show itself will debut in March 2013.