Just What Is The Hanso Foundation?

If you were watching ABC’s Lost on Wednesday night, you may have seen a commercial for the Hanso Foundation. The clean-cut commercial promoted another utopia-seeking organization, one that is “reaching out to a better tomorrow”. The commercial even provided a phone number to call, in case you were interested in learning more about Hanso. But… what is this group? The commercial didn’t tell us much at all about what they do, what their goal is, how they operate, anything.

Well, if that commercial left you scratching your head, don’t worry. The reason you haven’t heard of the Hanso Foundation before is because it doesn’t exist. That’s right. ABC purposefully aired a commercial for an organization that doesn’t actually exist. Why?

Because the Hanso Foundation exist on their hit drama, Lost.

On the show, viewers were introduced to this mysterious group a few months ago as the people who started putting people down in the mysterious hatch. The Dharma Initiative, which has it’s logos all over everything on the island, seems to be a by-product of Hanso. The show told us that the group was started by a Alvar Hanso, but that’s as much information as they gave out.

That commercial was a continuation of a new trend started by networks, where they promote their shows both on and off-air, in unusual ways. Immediately after the series finale of Lost last season, the producers launched a website for Oceanic Airlines, the carrier for the plane that crashed into the Lost island. For months, fans have been scouring that website, looking for all the easter eggs that have been left there. Some of the surprises include notes from characters on the show, a fake script page, video and audio from the show, and more.

Following up on the success of that website, ABC launched OceanicFlight815.com, a website that includes a video-enhanced game. One of the main easter eggs for this site was a sneak peek at the highly-anticipated season 2 premiere.

As traction begins to build for this season’s finale, ABC has launched a clean-looking Hanso Foundation website, a page that’s surprisingly informative for this fictional organization. They have biographies for the executive officers of the website, and headshots for the board of directors. They outline all of their mission objectives, which include electromagnetic research and life extension. They even have a website for Joop, the “world’s longest living orangutan”. It’s pretty impressive stuff for an organization that doesn’t even exist!

In fact, it’s so impressive that if you weren’t a fan of Lost, you might think this was an actual organization, and that Joop actually exist. (We checked… it doesn’t.) The real mystery begins when you try to sign up for the newsletter. After you enter your screenname, a message pops up, asking if you can read this. After saying “yes”, it will tell you that it’s “Persephone” talking to you, and will ask you for a password. I put in “trust”, and was told to “call the call center in the TV ad section.” And then the screen went back to normal.

Did it make any sense? No. Am I even more confused now than I was before? Well, sure. After I find out what the Hanso Foundation is, now I’m left wondering who this “Persephone” is. Leave it to Lost to create a mystery outside of the show itself, and still have it as perplexing and frustrating. But we have to give it up to ABC for airing a commercial that opens up such a Pandora’s Box as this. When they want to, they sure know how to hype their programs.

(If you really want to freak yourself out at the Hanso Foundation website, when you sign up for the newsletter, enter the password “Breaking Strain”. But what happens when you enter that code, well, I just won’t say.)

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4 Responses to “Just What Is The Hanso Foundation?”

  1. Janna Says:

    Well, Persephone is the queen of the underworld. Duh.

  2. The Director Says:

    I’ve got a question:

    What were all those “Vote Here” signs about the other day?

    What were we all supposed to be voting on? And WHY didn’t someone tell us?

  3. eChuckler Says:

    I think the vote was about the school board.

    You know, normally, there are lawn signs advertising these seats. And at the very least, they give a time and date for voting day, so it doesn’t catch you off guard.

    When I saw the “Vote Here” signs on Tuesday, I was completely surprised. I guess I should spend more time watching local news!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    hey when it asks for the password put in breaking strain
    then go to joops corner and put breaking strain then send and watch the clip

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