Romeo Likes Juliet was a project that combined all of my passions into one giant transmedia monster that I fell in love with. I wrote and directed the project, conceptualizing and developing the looks and personalities of each instagram account and making sure we used as many of the features on instagram as possible, maximizing the engagement with the followers and focused on creating an authentic voice that connected with the audience.
Romeo Likes Juliet is an interactive, live adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which tells the modernized story across seven instagram accounts, with additional content on various platforms.
The show was released in November and ran for two weeks. Viewers of the show would get real time updates from characters through Instagram Grid, Instagram Stories and IGTV, and Viewers could participate by leaving comments on posts to either talk directly to the characters or to discuss the content with other viewers.
The project included an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) embedded into the narrative, which led the most engaged fans to additional content related to the story, as well as a secret alternate ending.
The project was produced through Buzzfeed in partnership with Instagram, and through instagram's analytics, we found out that not only did the 20k+ followers grow organically over the 3 week course of the show, the content reached a new younger audience for Buzzfeed, which ranged from ages 11 to 17.
The project allowed us to take a deeper look into what resonates with the younger (Gen Z) audience.
Some of the key takeaways were:
Gen Z will go above and beyond to engage with content they feel connected to, pushing the limits of the platform and format. They responded very well to the ARG and hidden clues, taking extra steps to find the easter eggs and follow the breadcrumbs to the extra content across different platforms.
Gen Z is well informed and well researched, have strong opinions and are not afraid to express them.
Gen Z is diverse and open minded. Gen Z challenges gender norms, beauty standards and values individuality.
Gen Z appreciates research and places great importance on knowledge and well-sourced and well-informed content.
Gen Z tends to form community through one-on-one connections over group connections. Followers of the story who bonded in the comments section would follow each other to discuss the content further in private DMs, as they are much more careful about privacy.
Many of the viewers created separate, anonymous accounts just to follow the story. This allowed them to separate their social experience from the entertainment experience, but also allowed them to interact with the content while protecting their identity.
Happy National Coming Out Day from this very happy, very proud Bisexual human!
Me at the first Bisexual pride parade ever!
Fun fact: The first gay pride ever was organized by Brenda Howard, a bisexual feminist and LGBT activist!
It took a long time, and a lot of learning and thinking and questioning to figure out all of my feelings. Luckily when I came out, my mom was super supportive of me. And my BFF @mercutie_yo is my WORLD and she's always there for me too. I'm a lucky bug.
I dream of a world where coming out becomes obsolete because everyone is accepted no matter who they are. We’ve come a long way thanks to the members of the LGBT community before us who fought to make the world a safer and more accepting place, but we’ve got a long way to go. Until then, I choose to love myself and ferociously support and fight for this beautiful community.
When Chantel Houston, one of the cast members and Buzzfeed Personality commented on Romeo's instagram account, followers responded by commenting on her breaking character, choosing to engage with the story over the celebrity.
Followers of the story responded especially well to moments where the fictional characters commented on each other's posts, even assigning certain emojis to represent certain characters. Mercutio ended up with teh bear emoji, because of her 'mama bear' tendencies.
I embedded an Alternate Reality Game style series of clues peppered across the internet as a way to further engage the audience, and to see how far the followers would go to interact with the content.
The clues were hidden as time stamps, screen shots and hidden links that led to buzzfeed quizzes with puzzles, secret tumblr blogs and even songs on soundcloud. The hints were organically in pivotal moments in the story, and was also mentioned on the gossip roundup account @delightsandends.