COOL STUFF

Next Big Viral: Neill Blomkamp's District 9 - For Humans Only

by
July 30, 2008

For Humans Only Banner

Late last year we announced that Peter Jackson's protege Neill Blomkamp had finally been given his first feature film, a mysterious sci-fi movie called District 9. Since then, we've heard nothing about this project, not even any casting or shooting details. At Comic-Con, I noticed giant "For Humans Only" banners and signs located throughout the convention center and placed at the entrance to every last bathroom, but I brushed them off as something related to a video game or TV show and nothing I needed to be concerned with. However, my sci-fi side of me was itching to know more, because it seemed like a strategic bit of viral marketing and alas, that's how I discovered that all of that was part of a much bigger viral marketing campaign for Blomkamp's District 9. Those banners were just the tip of the iceberg!

District 9 - For Humans OnlyAll of the banners and signs, including the ones placed at every restroom, all point to D-9.com. That site features an extensive application presented by some company called Multi-National United that allows you to either enter the human side or non-human side. After choosing one of the sides, users are shown an aerial map of a city with various colored zones and other information. The system is labeled as a "Local Alert System" for Johannesburg, ZAF (South Africa, which is also where they're filming). Beyond that, there are countless other features including a news feeds, behavior recommendations, and other rules and regulations. I really don't know what to do or where to go, but this website is host to a wealth of information that seems to only be the beginning of an extensive viral campaign.

To jump back to the film and the connection with it, since the announcement last year, no official plot synopsis has ever been revealed. Sony, who picked up the rights earlier this year, said that "we believe District 9 can be a true event tentpole on our release slate." Obviously we can expect something huge with this film, especially considering that Sony is launching this viral marketing a good 12 months before its release on August 14th, 2009. Everything so far points to this being a full length version of the short that Blomkamp made titled Alive In Joburg. That short is about a fictional world where aliens have become refugees in South Africa. You can see the aliens have the same tentacles and are asking for electricity - which further solidifies speculation that District 9 is a full length version of Alive In Joburg.

Additional websites related to the viral have also popped up including: multinationalunited.com, which has a countdown timer to the release of the movie; mnuspreadslies.com, a blog being run by the aliens complaining about MNU; mathsfromouterspace.com, some funky educational site related to MNU.

This reminds me a lot of the viral campaign for Cloverfield, surrounding a major corporation (Multi-National United / Tagruato Corp.) that has some dark secrets and a hidden agenda that is being uncovered by rogue people (or aliens) on the internet. We'll try and follow this as best we can with any updates we hear about over the next few months. With the huge success of The Dark Knight's viral marketing campaign, we expect other major studios are going to experiment with viral marketing as well. And I'm amazed that Sony has launched something this big at Comic-Con so far in advance of the actual release of the film. I guess they're expecting something quite epic come next August?

As for District 9, I'm pretty damn sure that Jackson and Blomkamp are using it as "proof" for a Halo movie. They're hoping to show the world that they can create an awesome sci-fi movie with a big budget so that Blomkamp has one succesful film under his belt. That way studios won't be so concerned about Blomkamp's experience and ability to handle a huge budget. If you haven't seen them already, make sure you check out Blomkamp's Halo shorts that he made around the time of release last year. Interested?

MNU Local Alert System

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  • sarah
    the halo shorts were amazing, i didnt kno those were his when i saw them. nice. i loved cloverfield even more because of all the fun i had with the viral marketing stuff. i worry about them overdoing it with more and more movies as time goes on. just like a great song, if you repeat it enough times it will become boring and tiresome. still, ill keep an eye on this one.
  • CSpuppydog
    Hells fucking yeah I am interested... I love viral marketing and I was obsessed with the Cloverfield viral. Thanks for some new crack.
  • Jojo
    I am so looking forward to this but the problem is that it is releasing in august when high profile movies like gi joe and FD4 are releasing which could hurt this movie's boxoffice.
  • Jojo
    I hope both Gi joe and Fd4 look shit and bomb.
  • http://criticinema.blogspot.com Dan
    "Late last year we announced that Peter Jackson's mentor Neill Blomkamp..." Hmm... from what I understand, Neill Blomkamp is far from being Peter Jackson's mentor. If anything, it's the other way around.
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Whoa, Dan, sorry, I got confused...I meant protege. Peter Jackson is sort of "bringing up" Blomkamp because he knows how talented of a filmmaker he is... Anyway, that's what I meant - sorry for the confusion. :)
  • Blake B
    These websites are pretty sweet.. I love viral marketing lol
  • http://criticinema.blogspot.com Dan
    *shrug* I live to nitpick, I suppose. :)
  • mocacinno
    i tried to put the number on "human access code"... i put 444444. check it out...pretty cool!
  • Brian
    I loved the "Dark Knight" viral campaign, and honestly don't think I can follow anymore for a little while. It took a lot out of me. I can't see much adding up, to that! I'll sit this one out.
  • mocacinno
  • mocacinno
    anyone knows what the "blue line" translates to?
  • Phil
    I was reading about this a couple of days ago. I bookmarked it as it ticked all the buttons for me... Let's see. Got it. It was the http://www.liveforfilms.com website and the article for District 9 was http://liveforfilm.blogspot.com/2008/07/district-9-what-is-it-peter-jacksons.html
  • Merc
    I tried that code and it didn't do anything but log me out. That blue line kinda looks like random characters that create visual words. Some look like "Similar commands" and "With then the da".
  • http://movieguyreviews4u.blogspot.com Ryan
    Sounds intresting. The site is really cool too. Hopefully Sony doesn't mess up the film though like Hancock.
  • Craig
    There is already a forum for this. D-9Forum.com Looks interesting!
  • MelissaAnne
    I started up on this one too. A short but fun viral out of CC also- Seek The Six
  • Keith
    I am very interested. Somehow I didn't see the signs for it at CC.
  • MelissaAnne
    The signs were on all the bathrooms, all the escalators, elevators in the Hard Rock- everywhere!! :D Everything was divided between human and non-human use.
  • Lauren
    I saw some picketers going down Gaslamp rallying for non-human rights. I got a few good pictures of it, too. This is exciting!
  • Darksider13
    I've tried 081409 i've tried 81409 i've tried 08/14/09 I've tried 444444 believe it or not... and that's all I can think of... If anyone can find the code PLEASE email me: Bucs1013@aol.com I'm really interested in this. It's gonna be so cool!
  • Michael Hansen
    What ever happened to Aladygma?
  • briguy
    I WANT AN F-ING HALO MOVIE
  • Bubba Jones
    So we're getting excited over Alien Nation meets apartheid?
  • Andy
    I <3 viral marketing. Best advertising scheme ever.
  • Ang
    Try "human" for an access code.
  • Henry Slawniak
    if you put in "target" as an access code you get a non-human shootingrange target pdf
  • Troy
    Try "136" or "156".
  • Nick
    Yea, looking at the blue line, I can see that it starts out "With..." and then continues with those kind of characters. I think we should really look into decoding it. If anyone figures it out, let me know.
  • Nick
    Here is what the code is: W1th 7h4N +HE da. 4rE +o NumbER Con+en+ 8u++011. 85d +Ex+ 5(0n1s 1n 250n 71713 4r3 up 51m117R3157 wh3R3 beN0x.31510n n0x, h3r3 3wh3r3 Here is what I have decoded so far: With ?han the da. are to number content - and that's it. if anyone can help, please let me know.
  • Nick
    I had it transfered into text. The code goes back further, aparently... Similar commands . It give find version hax. They with than the da. are to number content button. bad text scouts in. 250m 717/3 are up similar elsewhere be hax elsion hax, here ewhere I have no idea what on earth it's supposed to mean. It sounds like a mentally challenged gorilla ordering from mcdonalds.
  • http://carbonytte.wordpress.com carbonytte
    the last 2 words = here everywhere.
  • Meagan
    I figured out a couple words that'll get u redirected to the MNU website. Respect and communicate... if you read what the little "rules" say for peaceful living it gives you a clue to what to put i donno what the redirecting does tho. thought i'd share
  • Nick
    everything gets you redirected to MNU. Just post anything that isn't an access code twice, and it redirects you.
  • Jbriz
    "careers" for Humans, and "labor" for Non-Humans
  • Christian
    i love the D-9 site. and the print out of the target is fun to shoot with a BB gun lol : )). and in the non-human part type "laws" and its pretty cool!!
  • http://mnuspreadslies.com Christopher
    My rap sheet appears if you enter my name into the access code field for either the human or non human site.
  • Partner Facts
    Ok??  humans only???   thats a little weird ....  check into a persons past relationships at partnerfacts ...   http://www.partnerfacts.com

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