Friday, August 10, 2007

Holy Viral Marketing Batman!


I’ve been reading all about it on AICN for weeks. Almost getting tired of hearing about it because people just won’t give it a rest despite the fact that nothing significant has come to light for a couple weeks (the latest big revelation? The title they’re using on set is “Cheese”. Big fucking deal). But it’s been kind of quiet this week, so that’s been a nice break of sorts. Guess there was some other news happening so everyone could stop repeating the same theories ad nauseam.

That said, the trailer was cool. The website with the movable pictures isn’t as interesting to me as it seems to be to everyone else. I haven’t even bothered with the Slusho site. Too much garbage to sift through when I could just wait for someone else to find something significant.

Viral marketing’s cool, but it’s annoying when something is talked about so much that it gets old within 24 hours and you’re tired of hearing about it before it even has the chance to do anything but put out a mysterious trailer. Especially when people are so desperate to figure it out instead of waiting patiently and letting it play out, that they start grasping at anything that might potentially be a clue and end up wasting countless hours on what turns out to be a puzzle site for a completely unrelated video game’s viral marketing campaign. Which is thereby ruined once it comes to light that it has nothing to do with the original project everyone is scrambling to figure out. “Sorry a bunch of rabid lunatics ruined your viral marketing by mistaking it for someone else’s viral marketing.” That sounds so absurd. But watch, when this viral marketing shit isn’t just a few and far between deal, but everyone is using it for everything, there will be situations like this all the time. One campaign will accidentally be absorbed by another, completely ruining one or both in the process.

Now, an example of a viral marketing campaign done right in every way: The Dark Knight. Everyone knows about it, but it’s not over-hyped like “Cloverfield”. It’s being done in a very calculated and genius way. The games, the cooperative scavenger hunt at Comic Con (including skywriting, creepy recorded phone messages), the anonymous defaced playing cards and dollar bills being randomly scattered across metropolitan areas, the mysterious websites. Pure genius. If someone were to write an instructional book on viral marketing, they could just outline this campaign. The End.

I don’t know if this 1-18-08/“Cloverfield”/“Cheese” thing is going to end up being anything special, or just another big spark with little bang. But I can guarantee you that The Dark Knight is gonna be awesome. That has a lot to do with the people involved, but the excellent marketing sure isn’t hurting.

The Joker

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