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Special Project

Special Project
From the 6th Annual Shorty Awards

Syfy's Defiance

Entered in Tumblr of the Year


Visual storytelling is one of the most compelling elements of Tumblr culture. Understanding this, Syfy turned to Tumblr to tell the backstory of its new series, Defiance. Using the show writing staff, Syfy leveraged the visual nature of Tumblr to create an old time newspaper that explored the mythology of Defiance.Defiance was an ambitious transmedia project, uniting scripted drama and online gaming in one convergent world. Early research indicated mythology was an interest that would engage both gaming and television audiences. Knowing that Syfy had to tell a deep story, what better platform to turn to than Tumblr? Leveraging the design flexibility of the platform, Syfy created an original Tumblr layout that had the look and feel of a turn of the century newspaper, to start familiarizing audience with the old west aesthetic of the show itself. Knowing that storytelling was the goal of the campaign, Syfy decided it was imperative to bring the show writers of Defiance to Tumblr to tell this in universe backstory. Authoring original articles exclusively for Tumblr, the series writers employed newspaper tropes, bringing the Defiance mythology to life in an innovative and digestible format perfect for Tumblr’s bite size reader. From features on “How to Get Along with Your New Alien Neighbors", to fast-paced news stories covering the “Pale Wars", the show writers had the unique ability to introduce consumers to full world of Defiance nearly two months before the series launch. In addition, Syfy took advantage of the visual and viral nature of Tumblr by populating the Tumblr with GIFs. To maintain the veracity of the newspaper nature, though, these GIFs were designed in the style of animated newspaper ads. Advertisements for products like “Hellbug Pest Control" and “Defiance Linguistics"—the Alien language Rosetta Stone—created a sharable element that both attracted new audiences to the Tumblr and introduced consumers to the new Alien world of 2046. The results exceeded expectations, generating over 1 million impressions pre-premiere. A single GIF was shared over 2000 times, creating that viral element which helped set up Defiance as the fifth most Social show in Cable Network history the night of premiere. The “Defiance News Tumblr" also allowed Syfy to expand the Defiance presence into a fan based Tumblr featuring the user generated art from Defiance and allowing Syfy to use Tumblr as a resource to celebrate the creativity from of the fans themselves.

Strategy and Execution

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Ignited, Maxus, Naked


Entry Credits