Everyone and their mom knows that The Dark Knight was a smash hit. There are many reasons why, for sure. It was a well written film, it featured an iconic hero that everyone knows and loves, and it featured an iconic villain portrayed brilliantly by the late Heath Ledger. All fine reasons for the film being such a huge smash hit. But I submit to you another reason for the smashing success of TDK. Viral Marketing. Surely not the main reason or even one of the top reasons. But the brilliant viral marketing campaign, launched by 42 Entertainment, got fans of the film involved and even more excited about the film than they would have been. No doubt that the fans involved in the campaign shared their experiences with friends and family, why wouldn’t they?
The campaign featured numerous puzzles and riddles, even games that were supposedly set up by the Joker himself. So the positive buzz about this campaign will get more people involved in the campaign, which will in turn get more people interested in the film. The websites used to spread the word about the campaign all featured trademark joker “graffiti” all over, which was a site to see, especially for fans of the character. But what made the campaign truly special was the fact that it was not only people sitting in front of computers, but a joint effort by the computer crowd and “street teamers” that were out at locations across the country and throughout the world. This campaign got people actively involved, by asking people to go to specific locations to find specific clues, and even requiring participants to “jokerize” themselves and submit their pictures to the joker for future use in the viral campaign. It was loads of fun. Everyone got something from it. It never felt tedious or dull. It was truly exciting to find the next site, to try and guess “the Joker’s” next move. A campaign like that, regardless of how much people may or may not enjoy it, can do nothing to negatively impact the film’s release. It can only serve to help draw in more potential viewers.
So why then aren’t more studio’s employing this marketing tactic? Maybe it only works for certain types of films? It would make sense. Well, one film set to be released in a few months fits the bill quite nicely, and apparently a viral marketing campaign is being started “as we speak.” A new site has launched which will give us clues as to the movie it will be marketing. I encourage everyone to check out Skynetresearch.com That’s right people, get ready for some terminator viral marketing!
To me, this makes perfect sense. The upcoming Terminator: Salvation is the type of film that could not only launch a very successful viral campaign that actually makes sense, but also benefit greatly from said campaign. Think about it for a second. Skynet is the computer system responsible for controlling the robots in the future war. In the third entry of the terminator franchise, fans got to see the beginning of the end for the world as we knew it. We got to see the Skynet system as the government intended it to be, at least we were led to believe that we did. Skynet began as a computer intelligence system that was designed as a defense system run by the U.S. Air Force. In T3, we got to see it gain control of the experimental machines built for military purposes after it gained sentience and decided to lash out against its creators and mankind in general. But, like I said, it is entirely possible that Skynet gained sentience before the film implied that it did. That would be where the viral marketing campaign would kick in.
As a means of gaining valuable knowledge about the world it wishes to conquer, the Skynet system could “use the web” to test humans in any way it sees fit. The sites launched for the campaign, as well as all tasks/puzzles/games/riddles that are part of it, could be directly related to that. Now, I’m not saying that it exactly fits into established terminator lore, but McG has already shown that this movie has no regard for what was established outside of the original trilogy. So it could work. The campaign could drum up interest in it’s impending release, bringing in casual fans that may not have had a desire to see it before they had fun participating in the viral campaign.
OK, so we have established it is not just a rumor, terminator viral marketing is beginning. We know that it would make sense, and we know that it could work. Great. I don’t know how you would react to this news, but I am very excited about this. I love the terminator franchise. I’ve always loved seeing the robots in the films, and I’ve dreamed about seeing the robot apocalypse. Unfortunately, from what I have seen so far, I do not expect this film to be very good. It stars a couple of talented actors, it is rated R, and it will feature lots of explosions. All of which I am a fan of. But that’s all it’s got going for it at this point. At least, for me. But I had so much fun during the TDK viral campaign that I am actually looking forward to participating in this one. I figure, if I won’t get the enjoyment that I want out of the film, maybe I can get it that enjoyment from the viral campaign. If done properly, it could be a lot of fun. There are many different ways they could go with this. I find it hard to imagine it being as complex and active as TDK’s campaign was. I just don’t see how it would make sense for Skynet to send us everywhere like the Joker did. But it could still be a fun “online only” campaign. There isn’t much to do right now, just a basic site where you input your email address for updates, that’s it. But with the release coming soon, you can bet this will pick up fast. At any rate, you can bet I’ll keep you posted as this story develops!
What do you guys think? Anyone excited about a little viral goodness from Skynet?