Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Dark Knight Goes Viral

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.

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Anonymous said...

interesting...if I read this right you have to do a lot of work to get the pixel payoff? Not sure if the mainstream will do that (the die-hards will) but it seems once someone sees the pic they'll take a screengrab and pass it around. Then again, I'm not a batman fan...but Nolan rocks. Thanks for insighting us.

Anonymous said...

Mack - looks like they have changed the page:


Will be interesting to see how this is played out. Doubt it will fizzle likes Snakes on a Play.

Mack Collier said...

CK I don't think this is aimed at the mainstream, especially not 14 months out. I'm thinking WB is wanting to build interest and buzz among the fan-boy/comic geek set for now.

Matt how did you get the 'joker' site to load? I went to ibelieveinharveydent.com and nothing happened. Muhammad mentioned that site led to the 'joker' site, but I couldn't figure out how.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the first site did not give me the option either, I just typed in the url. Looks like they are doing some changes.

Anonymous said...

Mack: Gotcha. That makes sense. I sure hope they take care of their fans. Unlike Universal did with their 'Serenity' fans - good to 'em at first, bad to 'em thereafter. Tsk. Tsk. But they did learn ;-).

Anonymous said...

I blogged about this this morning after reading that post and talking to someone who knows someone.

The mystery is ongoing - if you go to http://www.ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com/
(the second site) it gives an error message, but if you highlight the page there is more to be seen (and a hidden message). There are also some smaller offline components that are great tie ins.

I hope they have the drive to turn this into a LOST type online experience for true fans and that it's not a one time thing!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for some reason my blog url didn't hyperlink in my posting name, but if you want to read the post with the other deets URL is www.catchupblog.typepad.com :)

J.D. said...

Harvey Dent? Is Two-Face in this movie too?

I hope not, because Joker deserves his own movie. I hope Heath Ledger can come close to Jack Nicholson's greatness.

Anonymous said...

The next batman is going to rock the hell !

Anonymous said...

A die hard fan in Portland is selling one of the Viral promo phones on Ebay for 25000! And he's actually getting some buyers. Apparently he's a morning show radio host and his listeners are bidding up to 45,000! Wow! I didnt realize people were so serious about this!

Anonymous said...