The Promicin Polemic

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USA Network - 'Battle of Promicin'
USA Network - 'Battle of Promicin'
While the June 17th season premiere of USA Network series The 4400 might seem like eons away to fans, the cable network and agency Campfire are giving them plenty to indulge in leading up to season 4. Today, the "Battle of Promicin" campaign kicked off online, which if you don't know, alludes to a controversial drug that served as a central focus of the season prior. "This major character, Jordan Collier, releases this drug Promicin out to the public," explains Campfire producer Gregg Hale. "So what our campaign does is expand the fictional period of time between the end of season 3 and 4 and it's all centered on the controversy that would surround something like Promicin—it's a drug that would either kill you or give you this extra human ability."

The official USA Network 4400 homepage serves as the central battleground for this initiative, which in turn offers links to three separate sites for those who are either pro-, anti- or just undecided about the superhuman elixir. Each site comes filled with its own exclusive content of "real" Promicin story highlights, video testimonials and advertisements touting the wonders of the drug. Obviously, the Promicin web triptych is analogous to real world arguments, something that Campfire was trying to convey. "The issue of Promicin deals with a lot of things we deal with in the real world in terms of drug use or pharmaceuticals or political division," Hale says. "Like most good science fiction, there are a lot of parallels between what's going on in the show's fictional world and the real world, and we felt the provocative nature of this dangerous substance would be a good hook to pull these people in."

But the cool factor doesn't taper off there. In the coming weeks as the season premiere approaches, the parties involved will not only be rolling out SMS initiatives, events, nearly 80 pieces total in video content and a few more in-story microsites, but Hale says the fans are urged to get involved on the sites as well. "A big part of what we're doing, because of this aspect where you can take Promicin and develop an ability, is inviting the fanbase via emails and stuff just getting them prepped for the launch. What we really want them to do is create their own character, whether that's somebody who's developed a Promicin-induced ability or somebody that's anti-Promicin, and get into the mix. All the sites are really built to invite that participatory thing with the fans."

Of course, the campaign is also meant to lure and catch potential viewers up while also appealing to 4400's core audience. The numerous funnels of content and creative wraparound online could do the trick. But Hale notes it's the audience that'll help drive it. "We were trying to do build something that's got a lot of content that people can really sink their teeth into, excite the fanbase and try to energize those guys to be that classic evangelist that's going out and saying, 'Oh man, I love 4400. I'm so excited it's coming out and they're doing this great promotional thing.' It's just making those fans feel special and saying that USA is paying attention to this show that they really like."
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