The TIFF (The Toronto International Film Festival) recently opened a state-of-the-art film and exhibit space in downtown Toronto, The TIFF Bell Lightbox. For their first major exhibit they brought the wildly successful Tim Burton MOMA show to the city and wanted a nimble and innovative concept to generate excitement around the occasion and raise awareness about the venue.
So we launched an experimental Twitter-based 'Cadavre Exquis' - a concept inspired by the Surrealist parlor game whereby each participant contributes to the story. In this case, the first line of the story was tweeted by Burton himself and was based on his beloved 'Stainboy' character featured in the exhibit. Twitter users from around the world were then invited to tweet lines (in 140 characters or less) to complete the story.
Without any media or PR effort, one little sentence from Burton triggered a firestorm of tweets and press all over the world. Over the course of two weeks, Twitter users from 163 countries, contributed 13,143 tweets of which 89 were selected creating a worldwide crowd sourced tale inspired by Burton’s most unique voice. The media, ranging from news outlets such as The Independent and The Guardian, entertainment magazines such as Rolling Stone Brazil, gossip bloggers such as Perez Hilton and the single most influential digital media magazine, Mashable, picked up on the story, not to mention thousands of Twitterers and Bloggers from around the globe.
The experiment was so successful that a live feed of the story was projected in the front hallway of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, blurring the lines between promotion, content and participative art.