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Forging friendships

By enabling Facebook users to become friends and interact with fictional characters from TV, movies and consumer brands, social networking platform SocialSamba has taken how content creators and entertainment brands connect with their fans to a whole new level.
February 1, 2012

Social networking platform SocialSamba has taken how content creators and entertainment brands connect with their fans to a whole new level. The startup, which launched last summer, enables Facebook users to become friends with fictional characters from TV, movies and consumer brands, and experience what it’s like to interact in a social network with those very characters.

“It’s a type of choose-your-own-adventure storytelling for the digital generation, where users can participate in private, scripted stories in real time through posts, images, videos and links as if you were in a social network,” says Susanna Pollack, SVP of global sales and marketing for the company.

Co-founded by Silicon Valley-based social technology expert Aaron Williams and CTO Matthew Shilts, SocialSamba licenses its software to entertainment and media content creators. The most recent family-friendly campaign involved a tie-in with the Warner Bros. film Dolphin Tale, which harnessed the platform to offer a scripted experience accessible through Facebook that allowed users to take part in an original storyline based on a real dolphin rescue.

“These are personalized stories, meaning the characters immediately call you by name, tell you they’re happy you’ve joined the network, and let you know they need your help,” says Pollack.

SocialSamba also has the ability to layer in mini-games, leadership boards and other social gaming mechanics. Plus its platform is COPPA-compliant, so the opportunities are ripe for children’s marketers. “The success of Dolphin Tale showed that scripted storytelling is extremely appealing to kids and teenagers who are on social networks,” says Pollack. The company is hoping that its platform will be in the hands of more teen-focused marketers in the future and is already making its experiences accessible on any kids website through an embedded game or as an app.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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