WhatsApp is the go to messaging platform for over a billion users but next week, it will have a use case that we have not heard before. NS, a Netherlands-based transportation network, plans to have hundreds of people using its public transport on the edge of their seats with a thriller story. What makes this thriller story unique is that it will be distributed via WhatsApp messages, the rail company announced on Wednesday. The thriller is called Ontspoord, which is a Dutch word that translates to ‘Derailed’ in English.
According to ANP, the thriller is created by Melle Runderkamp, who has TV series such as Het Schnitzelparadijs (The Schnitzel paradise), and the film Familieweekend (Family weekend) amongst other productions to his credit. NS says on its website that the story is about Sarah, who accidentally witnesses something she shouldn’t have and then disappears. In this thriller story, Sarah must prove that she is innocent before being found. The creators of this thriller say that the story consists of approximately 210 text, photo and video messages, which will be sent to those who register starting Monday.
NS had initially said that 500 people could register to experience Netherlands’ first thriller story on WhatsApp, but then doubled the number to a thousand due to massive interest. The rail company has announced that all the spots have already been filled. “Unfortunately, you have just missed this train”, NS says on its page. “You can no longer sign up for Ontspoord. Keep an eye on the NS channels, because who knows, you may be able to sign up for our WhatsApp thriller soon!”
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This is the first time that something of this sort is being attempted on WhatsApp. While one would expect Netflix or a leading theater chain to pull off something like this, NS is using Ontspoored as a unique opportunity to engage travelers. The thriller begins on January 28 and the finale will be held on February 1. Those who have signed up for Ontspoored will wait to discover whether Sarah manages to prove her innocence, but question is can you feel the suspense simply by looking at few images and reading a text on WhatsApp.