Viral Recap: The Dark Knight's Why So Serious Campaign

February 26, 2009
Source: Alternate Reality Branding

Viral Recap: The Dark Knight's Why So Serious Campaign

One of my favorite experiences of last year was participating in the viral marketing game for The Dark Knight. If you read this site during the six or so months leading up to TDK, you're probably already very familiar with every little aspect of it. But if you didn't read the site, or just want to see a good recap of the whole thing, the guys over at Alternate Reality Branding have put together a really slick video recapping the various elements of the ARG (alternate reality game). I'm one of those people who believes that viral marketing, when used properly, is a brilliant way to nurture fan loyalty and gain immense buzz.

This video is being referred to as somewhat of a calling card for 42 Entertainment, the company behind all this viral marketing. It wasn't put together by them (I think?), but it does do a great job of showing just how incredible this viral was and the impact that it had. Considering The Dark Knight just crossed the $1 billion mark at the box office last week, the proof of its effectiveness is in those numbers. Check it out:

Early last year, before this viral had even really picked up, I wrote an article titled Why The Dark Knight's Viral Marketing is Absolutely Brilliant. It received a tremendous amount of both positive and negative feedback and set somewhat of a precedent regarding my interaction in the viral from that point forward. Interestingly enough, the whole ARG became even more interactive soon after and became even more brilliant in the last few months before The Dark Knight hit theaters. And as you can see in this video, it really got huge numbers of fans quite excited, more than any other viral campaign has previously.

This isn't another article about why viral marketing is good or bad, but this video just goes to show that it's not useless marketing that riles of up fans to no effect. Maybe it just takes a good guided recap like this for some people to understand the bigger picture and get an idea for just how elaborate this game was. In fact, that video didn't even touch upon half of the more meticulous aspects of the viral and all of the mini games involved with it, but that doesn't really matter. I think they still did a great job of explaining it all under 5 minute. And special thanks to Film School Rejects for first finding this video and sending it our way.

Find more posts: Cool Stuff, To Watch, Viral Marketing



Thanks for the vid. Didn't realize it was that huge.

Ravster on Feb 26, 2009


This is so cool because im a huge fan of Spiderman

Tom W on Feb 26, 2009


That's crazy!!!

K on Feb 26, 2009


It was a good time! Go Batman!

????? on Feb 26, 2009


love how it ends " The Joker Left his Mark"... being as excited as i was for the movie i didnt quite realise the movement was this huge. TDK will be remembered as a Phenomenon or the grandest scale. afraid watchmen cant touch it.

viral on Feb 26, 2009


This type of marketing will be seen a lot in the future. It costs a lot less to run and manage and can have huge results. Creating social media campaigns allowing users to interact with the buzz will create more viral mania than ever for future movies.

Craig on Feb 26, 2009


I was at the two in Chicago. it was a Blast!!! an awesome time.

atg2040 on Feb 26, 2009


ive always wanted to get involved with this stuff, but it is always centralized in big cities, and im not all down for driving either 3 hours to Chicago and Detroit to participate.

Cory on Feb 26, 2009


I was living in the Dominican Republic back then and even I got Harvey Dents campaign material and all 3 issues of the Gotham City News paper, yeah it was huge and it was perfect! Thank You 42 Ent! It was a great ride!

bltzie on Feb 26, 2009


Gotham City = Chicago, you New Yorkers can keep Spidey.

Nikhil Hariharan on Feb 26, 2009


Just want to echo what #1 said. From what I knew these viral campains never went past the internet. How far they went with it was just wild.

Hand Knotted Rugs on Feb 26, 2009


OK, I loved TDK, but that is just insane. People should not be opening themselves up to that much obsession with a piece of entertainment, no matter how awesome it is. Wild.

scm1000 on Feb 26, 2009


just plain annoying, nerdy and overhyped

johnny on Feb 27, 2009


wow!!! i had no idea it was this big!

F.C. on Feb 27, 2009


Puts it all into perspective.

Ryan on Feb 27, 2009


Puts it all into perspective.

Ryan on Feb 27, 2009


wow...i got teary eyed near the end. it was such a great experience. too bad nearly everyone i know didn't feel the same way towards it. but because of it, i was able to make new friendships with fellow players. thanks for the video.

crAziemutant on Feb 28, 2009


Whoa, i knew the viral marketing was huge, but I didn't know it was THAT FUCKING MASSIVE, whoa!! Luckily I saw the premiere midnight screening last year - it was worth it!

Conrad on Mar 1, 2009


it was even better when you were able to see it for free in IMAX at the Joker's expense. thank you again, 42E!

crAziemutant on Mar 1, 2009


Will this happen again

BATMAN on Mar 2, 2009


honestly the most intense and in depth viral marketing campaign for a movie ive ever heard of.

Torti on Apr 15, 2009


this might happen again... probably commercially led... but the next REAL big viral as much on the edge as this one was will be produced by fans alone 🙂 check out the potential for TR2N

2020 on Jul 23, 2009

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