I blogged about the viral campaign for next summer's movie The Dark Knight back in the summer, but it's safe to say that business has picked up since then. For the longest time, the campaign was mostly online, with a series of 'dummy' websites popping up that all had some hidden clue/link that led to another secret screen/site and so it went.
Quite frankly, it was too much for me to keep up with, and the folks at First Showing had the same problem. Shame on us cause it looks like the fanboys that stuck with the campaign just got a helluva payoff!
A couple of days ago this carnival 'ring the bell' game appeared here. What you do, somehow, is ring the bell and win a teddy bear which has an address on it. The players then go to that address and tell them their name is Robin Banks (ie, robbin' banks).
Turns out that every location was a bakery (yes a real bakery), and waiting for the FIRST person to give their name as Robin Banks, was a real cake. The cake had a phone number written in icing with the command to 'Call me now!'
Now let's see...we're playing along like a criminal, robbin' banks, now we have a cake. Say, wonder if there's something IN the cake? Hot dammit there is! Seems that each cake had inside a bag marked 'Evidence, Gotham City Police Department'. Inside the bag was a cellphone, a charger, Joker playing card, and a note which read:
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 players call the number, a woman from Rent-a-Clown says she knows who they are, and thanks them for calling, and hangs up. Then they receive the following text message:
Good work, clown! Keep this phone charged and with you at all times. Don't call me. I will call you … eventually.
Yowza! Seems that the Joker has more goodies for his new army, as if you clicked on the top of the bell at the carnival game, you were taken to another page where if you click on a Joker playing card, you are rewarded with info on how to get a free pass to an IMAX showing of I Am Legend. The showing will also feature the first 7-minutes of The Dark Knight. And yes, all the free passes are long gone!
I absolutely love this campaign because it is a classic example of reaching out to your evangelists and empowering them to promote you. Do you think you could pay the people that got a phone from 'The Joker' to shutup about it? Be serious! These people are going to go out of their way to tell anyone they can about the phone, the cake, and how 'The Joker' recruited them to be a part of his army.
And the campaign itself is so cool that bloggers are going to talk about it, as will MSM sites. Again, this is a great example of knowing your customers, and appealing to them on their terms.
But the question I have is, we've still got seven months till the movie debuts, so what's next?!?
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing, The Dark Knight, Why So Serious?