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Mind the Gap

Curiousity is an instinct - an emotional response that motivates exploration and investigation. A lot of animals have this instinct, including cats, which suggests it has evolutionary advantages and that it's a hardwired cognitive mechanism. As such, it's an incredibly potent communication tool because if you can make someone curious, they are naturally inclined to do something, which is shifting behaviour and moving them towards you. 

Curiousity is stimulated by making people aware of "manageable gaps in their knowledge". So first of all you have to show people enough of something to get them involved, but leave gaps that people feel the need to fill in themselves.

This is similar to what Jeffre would call being interesting - if you give people all the answers, there's nothing for them to do, no reason for you to stick in their minds.

The 'viral' agency Campfire, who were involved in Audi's Art of Heist, Sega's Beta 7, and the daddy of them all, The Blair Witch Project, says the key to great viral is managing the curiousity gap and point out that if you make the content interesting enough, communities will form around it. Scatter information across channels and communities will form to collect and share it - these are the underlying principles of transmedia properties.

An approach that JJ Abrams has embraced to promote his forthcoming movie.

The trailer above screened without warning in previews of Transformers in the USA. Simply by not really explaining what the film is about, or indeed what it's called, the movie has triggered a flurry of media and consumer attention 6 months before it's due for release.

The trailer became mainstream news on CNBC, heralded as showing a movie studio embrace a new marketing paradigm. There are a bunch of related websites, that give little away, triggering the formation of blogs to pull the clues together.

Whether or not 6 months of anticipation will lead to a backlash when the film comes out, Abrams has none the less turned a film trailer into a news event.

But then perhaps we should expect nothing less from the man that, according to Tom Cruise, was

born to impinge and invade pop culture.

Although Tom does seem to be building this insight into the creator of Lost primarily from the fact that he has two Js in his name:

Gotta give it up for that J2.