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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 02/29/2012

When Ted met ‘Prometheus’: A lesson in viral video creation (video)


British film director Ridley Scott posing during a photocall at the Hotel Bristol in Paris, for his movie "Body of Lies". (BORIS HORVAT - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
”We are the gods now.”

That is according to fictional corporate magnate Peter Weyland, head of the equally fictional Weyland Corporation, during his 2023 Ted Talk.

Yes, that’s right, 2023.

The video of this futuristic talk as envisioned by filmmaker Ridley Scott, was shown to the very real TED 2012 audience in Long Beach, California on Tuesday. It features actor Guy Pierce as Weyland — head of the shadowy company featured in the film series “Aliens.”

Weyland begins by regaling the audience with the tale of Prometheus — also the name of the sci-fi film the video was created to promote. Prometheus was the Greek Titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. This, of course, incurred the wrath of the gods who sentenced Prometheus to be strapped to a rock and have his liver eaten out by an eagle for all eternity.

But that’s the mythological past. In Weyland’s fictional present, man is on a roll when it comes to invention and innovation.

“We are now three months into the year of our Lord, 2023,” intones the corporate titan after listing the key inventions that arrived subsequent to fire, “at this moment in our civilization, we can create cybernetic individuals who, in just a few short years, will be completely indistinguishable from us.”

“My name is Peter Weyland,” he concludes dramatically, “and if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to change the world.”

Cue the applause, both real and fake.

Weyland’s futuristic TED talk takes place inside a colosseum-sized arena — so large, in fact, it makes you wonder what a ticket to TED might cost in 2023. Jumbotrons behind him show what appear to be live tweets from viewers and audience members.

But, that aside, the video is a unique plug for a much-anticipated film delivered directly to a target audience — an almost perfect combination of ingredients for the creation of a viral video.

Scott, who envisioned the project, teamed up with writer and film executive Damon Lindelof and Scott’s son Luke Scott, who directed the video. ”Prometheus,” the prequel to the popular “Aliens" series, is set to be released in June.

In an interview with Ted’s Ben Lillie, Lindelof discussed how the idea came about, saying:

I said, “l’ll write this thing, and we’ll put it in front of you guys, and if you think it’s cool, we would love to platform it at TED, and make it only viewable through TED.” Because I liked the idea of exposing a more general audience to, “Wait a minute, I’ve never heard of this thing. There’s more talks here.” I thought it could be mutually beneficial — as opposed to overtly cram-it-down-your-face viral marketing, which I don’t think anyone wanted to do.

Judging by the reception online, Lindelof got his desired result.

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By  |  11:10 AM ET, 02/29/2012

Categories:  Business, The Arts, Video

 
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