With Batman Begins (and the addition of Chris Nolan), Warner Brothers restored my faith in the Batman movie franchise. Now the studio is attempting to soup up its marketing efforts for the movie's sequel.
The Dark Knight won't reach movie theaters until next summer, but WB has already launched an interesting online promotion for the film, with a built-in viral component.
When you go to the movie's website, you are greeted with the familiar bat logo, and nothing more. But if you click on the logo, you are taken to the site http://ibelieveinharveydent.warnerbros.com/, which has the picture shown above.
Now according to Muhammad at ProNet Advertising, the site ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com/ eventually comes up, with the 'vandalized' logo at the left. It appears that Batman's old nemesis The Joker has been at work. But Muhammad explains that with this site (which apparently can only be accessed from the above site first), you can enter in your email address, and you'll be sent the x,y coordinates of one pixel, and a new link where you can enter in the email's coordinates, and remove one pixel on the image to the left, revealing a bit of the image underneath.
However, you can only get one pixel per email address, so you're probably going to need help from your friends to see what image is underneath. This is where the viral component comes in, as everyone works together sharing coordinates, until the image underneath finally confirms our suspicions that The Joker has been up to no good. Muhammad adds that Warner Bros. seeded these sites on several 'socially driven communities', and according to Google Blog Search, the IBelieveInHarveyDent site has been already been linked to over 200 times since last Thursday.
Given that The Dark Knight doesn't hit theaters for another 14 months, I have to assume that this is just the start of a larger campaign for the movie. We're seeing more of these type of online efforts, especially considering how much exposure the incredibly elaborate online viral effort for the new Nine Inch Nails album garnered.
If smartly done, I'm a big fan of these type of efforts, because they generate a ton of buzz, while giving fan boys a chance to have some fun. At this point I am a bit confused by the launch of this campaign now, since we are heading into the teeth of the summer movie season, especially with 2 Marvel comic heavyweights in theaters. Perhaps a fall launch would have been better.
Then again, maybe this summer's movie marketing is big enough for a Silver Surfer, a webhead, and an obsessed millionaire/vigilante crimefighter.
UPDATE: Catch Up Lady blogs about the effort as well, and it seems 42 Entertainment is also behind this one, as they were the NIN campaign.
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing, Viral Marketing, The Dark Knight