Starz Sketches Digital Experiences for 'Da Vinci's Demons'

To support the second season debut of Da Vinci’s Demons, Starz has rolled out a pair of digital experiences, centering on two of the Renaissance legend’s main attributes: his drawing ability and his genius. The “Your Portrait by da Vinci” digital app allows users to have their portrait "drawn" by Leonardo da Vinci himself by simply uploading a photo or connecting to their Facebook account to select an image. With the “Dark Side of Genius” interactive quiz, users can gauge their intelligence level and their propensity towards a much darker side of madness, placing them on an X/Y grid with some of the greatest minds in history, including the great artist and inventor himself. The rookie run of the series, which returns on March 22 at 9 p.m., was backed by a second-screen experience, the "Citizens of Florence," in which viewers gained access to historical elements and facts built around the show. “For the second season of Da Vinci’s Demons, we wanted to do something more social and fun,” said Erin Dwyer, executive director of digital marketing for Starz. “Around the office, we talk about what Da Vinci would be doing if he were around today. We think he’d be working on solving the energy crisis, but he definitely would be an app guy.” With the “Your Portrait by da Vinci” digital app, once the photo is uploaded, the da Vinci sketch book will animate through multiple pages of his work, before finding a clean page where his latest creation begins to emerge. Upon completion, users may post the image to Facebook, share on Twitter or download. “We looked at some auto sketching on YouTube, and gave some ideas to the engineers. They used their magic to allow for creative sketching that works with any kind of photo,” Dwyer explained. Created by Starz in partnership with Arsonal, the sketch experience is compatible for mobile, desktop and tablets and available at and “Da Vinci’s Demons” Facebook tab. You can have your portrait drawn by the digital da Vinci here. As to the test, Dwyer said it’s rooted in the upcoming campaign’s narrative. “In the second season, da Vinci is in a darker place,” she noted. “When it comes to genius, they always teeter between madness, mental illness and obsession. “ The user takes an intelligence assessment inspired by a combination of IQ, Mensa and psychological testing. The quiz is a mixture of quick response questions, observations and multiple-choice answers to such queries as whether you have a problem about lying to get what you want?; is it okay to steal in order to survive?; the purpose of power is to enforce?; and would you rather be attractive and poor, or rich and ugly? Once users have completed their assessment, they will receive a results summary and see where they fall on an X/Y grid that identifies “genius” as one axis and “madness” as the other. Depending on how the user answers, their position within four quadrants will vary. They will see how they compare to other famous geniuses throughout history and they can share their results. Resulting characterizations include "superior intellect & rational," “bright normal & rational," and bright normal & delusional” and the responses can place the user near Da Vinci, Marie Curie, Marie Antoinette, Vincent Van Gogh, Brick Tamland, Homer Simpson and Vlad The Impaler on the grid. The browser-based experience, created in conjunction with And Company, is available on and the Da Vinci’s Demons’ Facebook page, through mobile, tablet and desktop. Dwyer hopes Da Vinci’s Demons devotees will take the test (available here) – several times. “We hope it’s an immersive and obsessive experience,” she said. “We don’t expect many Van Goghs, but we have Homer Simpson in there, too. It’s meant to be fun.” The premium programmer is getting word about the Da Vinci's Demons' digital experiences through on-air bumpers, enewsletters and email pushes, prominent positioning on and paid social media on Twitter and Facebook. “With digital, the hope, of course, is that it gets picked up and develops its own momentum and gets passed around,” said Dwyer, noting that series star Tom Riley and other cast members will take the test. "We’ll see how that gets people interested."