Guerrilla Marketing for Frank Miller's The Spirit Invades Nation's Capital
by Kevin Powers
September 19, 2008
While Alex is enjoying the flashy west coast life nowadays, I sit on the cusp of the cool fall season in Washington, D.C. - a city overrun by politics more than Hollywood happenings (though we do get our fair share of nifty screenings and events). We brought you that pair of solidly badass posters for The Spirit earlier today, but it looks like the D.C. area is getting in the guerrilla game of promoting Frank Miller's December film. Crafty students at the regional Art Institute have created fake parking tickets, complete with Spirit-inspired "fines", and intend to distribute upwards 10,000 "citations" throughout the city over the next couple of days. Smart viral marketing or just a publicity trick that will piss off locals?
D.C. parking tickets are a stark pink color - believe me, I know - so I'm not sure how many folks might be "fooled" by the attempt, but I suppose that's for the best. After all, the effort grabs your attention without creating panic that you actually received a valid citation. That observation aside, this is a really cool effort on the part of some artful students (pun intended). Instead of violations, the faux tickets include tasks, such as "Protect against civilians who try to deface city property" and "Protect against those who may disrespect the city". This is not only a neat campaign for the movie, but also one that, from a purely social perspective, is actually impressive. D.C. could certainly use a motivated citizenry to ward off negative behavior. And cudos to the art school for keeping the campaign pretty low-key, as opposed to other organizations that end up shutting down my local metro with their odd-ball efforts.
Lionsgate has apparently approached a number of art schools throughout the country for viral campaigns similar to this, but the actual execution of the effort has been left up to them. D.C.'s school has divided itself up into six teams to spread the word in six different areas of the city, all the while donning their self-designed The Spirit t-shirts. I hope we catch wind of other schools' efforts here in the near future. We'll be sure to update you if we can grab a few snapshots of the folks distributing the tickets!