The Dark Knight's Viral Marketing Gets Very Real - Cakes, Cell Phones and All!
A couple of weeks ago we were following the latest viral marketing campaign online for The Dark Knight pretty closely. An online version of the fictional newspaper The Gotham Times arrived and was followed by numerous websites, including a defaced Joker version of the paper called The Ha Ha Ha Times and even a website for the Gotham City Rail with a subway map of the city. This whole campaign is on the other end of the spectrum of the teaser poster - this stuff is absolutely brilliant. I followed up on this whole viral campaign earlier today and discovered I'd missed something HUGE! The Joker has been recruiting, and I mean quite realistically!
After the bevy of new websites came online and messages started appearing where the result was to wait a number of days, most of us lost the ability to keep track of everything going on. Well a few hardcore fans have been keeping track and they've got one hell of reward - they're now members of Joker's army. This reminds me of the that scene in the Matrix, where Neo gets that phone from the FedEx envelope and it rings right away. Except this is real life folks.
On December 3rd a new page appeared at whysoserious.com/steprightup with a hammer game and some teddy bear toys. Each toy had an address on it located in a number of cities around the US. The note on the game told people to go to that address and say their name was "Robin Banks" (get it, "Robbing Banks") and they'd get something there. It was first come, first serve, and each location was a bakery. What they were given was a cake with a phone number written on it. Now here's the best part: inside the cake was an evidence bag (complete with Gotham City Police printing) that contained a cell phone, a charger, a Joker playing card and a note with instructions.
The note read the following:
"Wow. You really took the cake! Now put the icing on it. Call [number] immediately from this phone and this phone only. Do not give this phone number to anyone else.
Let's hope your fellow goons come through as well as you. Once all the layers are in place, you'll all get your just desserts. I'm a man of my word."
When the person called the number, a lady answered from Rent-a-Clown to thank the caller. Apparently she said she knew who the caller was and then after hanging up, they received a text message. It read:
"Good work, clown! Keep this phone charged and with you at all times. Don't call me. I will call you … eventually."
If you can believe it, the Joker now has real, live people recruited to his army sitting with a phone awaiting his call. I thought this stuff only happened IN movies, not FOR movies!
Additionally, once all the cakes were handed out, a new page was linked where users can sign-up to receive a free screening pass on Thursday night at 7PM to see I Am Legend in IMAX which will include the first 7-minutes of The Dark Knight that was filmed specifically for IMAX. Another link also revealed the first teaser poster.
My first reaction to all of this: HOLY SHIT! That is the coolest thing I have ever seen in terms of viral marketing! They've got people armed with cell phones ready to go out and do whatever the Joker asks. Now I'm just frustrated that I wasn't keeping up with this close enough to grab the cake and cell phone from Denver. However, now I'm armed and ready the moment another clue comes up (at any time of the day) to head out and be the first one.
This viral marketing for The Dark Knight is really getting quite "real" and I mean that it is really picking up and getting tangible. I can't wait to see what happens next! There's still 7 months until the movie even comes out!! Thanks quite a bit to HollywoodChicago.com for the photos and info on this.
The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, is directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige) and co-written by Christopher Nolan, his brother Jonathan, and David S. Goyer. The movie arrives in theaters next summer on July 18th, 2008.
Reader Feedback - 16 Comments
Has there ever been a movie with better viral marketing than The Dark Knight? I'd be surprised if there was. This just keeps getting better and better.
Nick O. on Dec 5, 2007
"My first reaction to all of this: HOLY SHIT! That is the coolest thing I have ever seen in terms of viral marketing! They've got people armed with cell phones..." Maybe the first time it's done for the movies, but not the first time. Nine Inch Nails had a viral campaign for their last album...The cell phones contacted people and ultimatetly directed them to a private concert. If their doing something similar for DK I'm guessing its an advanced screening with other perks...
jason_md2020 on Dec 5, 2007
Ya I have really enjoyed this campaign it has been really fun.
Stephen on Dec 5, 2007
These guys know what they are doing that is for sure. Really COOL stuff just brilliant.
Davor on Dec 5, 2007
A Nokia that survives being baked? I want one 😛 This is a seriously good marketing campaign by WB. Hope they can keep it going 🙂
avoidz on Dec 6, 2007
Even more so, these "goons" will probably get chances to go on talk shows and dish out their story and plug the movie in the process. This is one of the most amazing stories in marketing strategy I've ever even heard of, next to the 1/31/07 accidental bomb threat for the Aqua Teen flick.
Zach on Dec 6, 2007
I went to one of the previews, and we didn't see I Am Legend. That's bullcrap, because we all left the theater as soon as the 6 minute thing was over, since the lights came back up and nothing was happening.
Amber on Dec 8, 2007
Aw man, I wish I could go to the secret screening...
Jack on Mar 23, 2008
Here's a link to a discussion about Viral Marketing in The Dark Knight. This blogger thought it was way more than necessary. http://wonderabby.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/a-reaction-to-rants-about-viral-marketing/
Abby on Apr 16, 2008
Damn, I so wanted to be in the Jokers Army too. =)
Viral Marketing on Jun 6, 2008
Apparently these cakes have been sent to news outlets nationwide, including KENS 5 TV in San Antonio, Texas. The KENS cake, with wires and a cell phone, understandably prompted an evacuation of the station (kinda looks like a BOMB, don't it?). See KENS News report at http://www.mysanantonio.com/multimedia/KENSVideo/index.html?bclid=1127701735&bctid=1668060829
captainben on Jul 15, 2008
Escape from Arkham http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3224/2715855571_a15c125d28_o.jpg
b wolper on Jul 31, 2008
we wanted to be part of the joker army!! but does anyone know the phone number from the movie??!
joker jane & harley Q. on Aug 15, 2008
i luv joker acting..
raja on Mar 31, 2009
wow this is totally awesome i love it i wank over it all the time 😛
Julie Fabb on Nov 11, 2009
I agree with the above post.
DUM DUM on Feb 4, 2010
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