We are really facing the home stretch now till the release of the new Batman movie, Batman: The Dark Knight, which releases on July 18th. Let me tell you, the anticipation is mounting. What’s interesting is how it got to be such an anticipated movie. Surely there is the standard myriad of advertising devices being employed – billboards, pizza boxes, TV commercials, bus stop posters and the like – but their online advertising ventures are what I think to be the most interesting. The marketing team behind the new Batman movie decided to adopt a strategy where they created a URL, www.whysoserious.com , and let it play a part in a perpetual “Gotham” world that is going on. They don’t advertise behind-the-scene photos or bios about the actors, but instead, act as if the movie was happening in the real world using the characters such as Harvey Dent (Two-Face) and the Joker to propel the world of Gotham and heighten the excitement for the new movie.
In the beginning there was just an obscure website. You could go to whysoserious.com and find little snippets about Harvey Dent’s campaign for election or the Joker’s terrifying streak of violence, but there was little else to do but look for clues. The first truly big event to hit the scene was the Comicon (annual San Diego comic convention) Joker charade. The website advertised that the Joker was looking for new recruits for his gang and that people who dressed up like him should show up there and wait for “instructions.” At Comicon the antcis really heated up. In one of the first crowds of people dressed up as Joker someone was actually kidnapped and tossed into a van, having their picture taken and a whole mock-death scene put up and posted on the whysoserious.com website , along with a threatening message about needing to really be “up to par” to be able to be a part of the Joker’s crew. For everyone else dressed up like Joker at Comicon there started a giant convention wide interactive scavenger hunt. People were sent all over the convention to relevant attractions and it all culminated with the participant being told to go outside and “look up at the sky.” From here, there was a giant sign flown thru the sky to call a certain number, which if you did, you got more extra cool movie info and general dork-out brownie points. It’s truly genius to think of how well this was executed and sculpted into a great marketing event for the participants and a great marketing attraction for people just keeping up to date via the website. The site was consistently updated during and after the event, making it an exciting little world to keep up with. It left people hanging by the edge of their seat, always wondering what new thing might be happening, or what new movie information might be available to them.
Things didn’t halt after Comicon either. The next big event that the site encouraged was to take a picture of you and/or your friends in their best Joker get up. People were allured with more sneak peaks and information about the movie and the general desire to perhaps get a chance to be displayed to the Batman fan club via the website’s postings. People started taking pictures of themselves all over and various pictures were displayed and sent out in mock newsletters and online articles showing the far reaching spread of the Joker’s villainy. Once again the marketing team used the anticipation of the movie to make people want to learn more and play a role in the constantly growing online advertising movement. People were and are being allured by the unknown. The idea that if they do something the site is suggesting, they might get to play a part in the release of the movie that is unique and special, and above all else, publically displayed on a website for any and everyone to see.
It really is pretty brilliant marketing if you ask me. The advertising team is creating a world that not only is advertising successfully, but it’s making people seek it out. It is literally bringing people to the site because they are offering something people want. They are giving people the opportunity to feel included and feel like they have a chance to get something no one else can. They are dangling a treat above our heads and letting us want to keep up to date to know what could be next. Sounds to me like they have some really great things an advertising campaign needs; people and looming product anticipation!