How do you engage fans in a franchise that hasn't seen a new film in 10 years, headlined by a star that's not supposed to age? Fortunately, we didn't have to tackle that second one, but we solved the first with an incredible Flash site for Terminator 3. Launched in early 2003, before anyone had really heard of Facebook or even Myspace, this site was conceptually FAR ahead of its time, integrating a host of what we would now call social media features. Wrapped in beautifully executed Flash animations and sound design, the site truly felt like an extension the films.
Leveraging the concept of the Skynet core (the artificial intelligence chip that led to killer robots), the site presents itself as a massive database. Once registered, fans could create a public profile, submit artwork and comments, as well as rate everything else. All content was color-coded as originating from the studio, a guest artist, or the fan community, and every item was attributed to its creator.
As part of our plan to get fans re-engaged and re-energized about the pretty dusty storyline, the site was launched months earlier than is typical for film sites. This allowed the studio marketing team to use it as a test platform of sorts, floating out content to gauge reaction. Comments from the site had a profound effect on how the film was ultimately marketed in trailers and advertising.
The one big miss? Despite our urging, some months after the film premiered and the site was retired, the studios simply discarded all of the registered user data! Hard to imagine that happening today, but at the time they just didn't see how it could be useful.