BRONZE: Best Transmedia
CBC - Murdoch Mysteries: The Infernal Device
One of Canada's most successful and longest-running dramas, Murdoch Mysteries is a one-hour mystery series that explores the world of William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), a methodical and dashing detective who pioneers innovative forensic techniques to solve murders at the turn of the 20th century.
The show has a vibrant fan community with a large and highly active number of steampunk aficionados, cosplayers, mystery lovers, and puzzle-solvers. The goal of "The Infernal Device" was to reward these fans with an original Murdoch Mysteries story in which they could directly participate, breaking through the walls of all of their devices and into the real world.
As a marketing effort, it was conceived as an innovative way to both maintain and attract new attention to the show, which is entering its ninth season.
"The Infernal Device" cast fans in the role of detective, immersing them in an original Murdoch story that began online and extended out into the real world.
Originally playing out over six weeks in spring 2015, the steampunk-inspired transmedia mystery involved multiple gruesome murders, a 1902-era superweapon, British royalty in jeopardy, early 20th century biotechnology, stage magic, espionage, and betrayal. It combined video, photos, documents, letters, and other epistolary evidence punctuated with diabolical puzzles, cryptographic conundrums, and devious mini-games that served to successively unlock more of the story.
New chapters were revealed online each week, leading to live, scripted, participatory events in locations across Canada and in London, England. Additional clues were revealed at each location, and fans then worked together online to solve the case.
A multi-platform experience that lived both on the desktop and in the real world, utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, and even a custom augmented reality smartphone app, this was a groundbreaking project that had over a hundred people involved in its production. The Infernal Device garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews and resulted in an avalanche of social media conversation along with an enormous amount of earned media impressions and news coverage across Canada and in the U.K.
Audience sentiment was universally positive and engagement was even higher than expected, with the large and passionate Murdoch fan community actively collaborating around the clock to experience the story and solve the mystery over the course of the six weeks. Independently, fan-created websites, Facebook pages and Wikis appeared, dissecting and unpacking the story as it progressed.
The online component of the project was constructed as an "evergreen" self-contained story experience, and is still being discovered and enjoyed by new players to this day.
Part transmedia mystery, part mixed-reality game, The Infernal Device captured the imaginations of Murdoch fans across Canada and around the world.
Stats were gathered over the course of the six-week original run from April 8 to May 16, 2015. These figures cover a span of time where the television program was not on the air (the season had already ended). This level of traffic and social activity represented an enormous spike in comparison to the regular out-of-season traffic for Murdoch Mysteries, especially considering the demands on the user were high (reading, watching videos, solving puzzles, etc.) Additionally, the story is still live and playable (minus the live events) and is still generating traffic as more people discover it.
- 71k weekly players on cbc.ca/murdochmysteries/infernaldevice
- Average time per visit: 11:41
- 4.5 million impressions
- 96,337 stories created (user responses, activities)
- 2.5 million reach
- 27% average engagement per post
- 7 million impressions
- 18,287 engagements
- 11,129 uses of the #MurdochMysteries and #InfernalDevice hashtags
Each live event was enthusiastically attended by hundreds of fans, many in period costume, who were there to investigate the scene, question the characters, solve real-world puzzles, and take photos, videos, and share their findings with other fans on social media.
- 2-3 Periscope sessions per live event (guided tour, live questions, and other interactive activities)
- Aggregate number of live viewers per weekly event: between 2,300 and 8,700 (number of comments not captured)
Client: CBC/Murdoch Mysteries
Executive producers: Fergus Heywood, Jay Bennett
Senior producers: Ted Biggs, Mike Evans
Producers: Mike Doucet, Nick McAnulty, Allen Martin
Writer: Michelle Ricci
Content producer: Ryan Creighton
Associate producer: Kendrick Potvin