Alternate US history is the go-to move for hot new cable and streaming shows, from HBO’s Watchmen to Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, reimagining how things might have turned out is an endless well of narrative inspiration.
The latest show to delve into this genre comes from Disney’s Freeform network, and it’s called Motherland: Fort Salem. And along with the theme of magic comes a unique promotional tie-in from Snapchat that uses augmented reality to bend reality in the direction of the show’s magical theme.
What is that theme? In short, in the series’ alternative history, the witches of legend from the Salem Witch Trials weren’t killed off but instead used their powers to reach a truce with the US government and became a dominant force in the 300 years to follow. Just imagine FX’s American Horror Story: Coven (Season 3), but more military, less hiding in the shadows, and a lot more badassery.
In addition to the theme of magic, the series is about the empowerment of women, and to that end, timed to coincide with Women’s History Month, the show is using a special Snapchat Lens to bring its alternative history vision to life.
When you scan the show’s Snapcode (shown below), you’ll have access to a new Snapchat Lens that allows you to transform the face appearing on any US currency to that of a woman.
The woman who appears on the transformed banknote is General Sarah Alder (actress Lyne Renee), the military leader of the witches in the 10-episode series.
Also, if you flip your camera into selfie mode, you can put the series’ alternate history American witch flag in your background.
Then, on March 18, the premiere date of the show, Snapchat users will also be able to use the Lens to place storms around them, which mirror the magical powers on display in the show’s trailer.
The marketing magic is just the latest in a growing list of movies and television shows increasingly harnessing the powers of Snapchat’s AR abilities to pull the fan experience from the screen into real life with the impact immersive computing brings.