I love this shit! Warner Bros have gone all out with their ARG style campaign for the new Batman movie ‘Dark Knight’. The story travels across a bevy of sites including the The Gotham Times, this game, and the official Wiki amongst others. But there’s more! This story unfolds across a multitude of media platforms and travels into the real world. The cross media nature of this viral has catapulted ARG into the mainstream culture.
Players in the US were encouraged to visit 22 real world addresses to collect a treat under the name “Robin Banks”. Nice. The Joker had left cakes at bakeries with phone numbers written on them in icing. It gets better…when ringing the number the cake itself rang! In the cake was an evidence bag with a mobile phone and charger, a joker playing card, and a note with another number on it.
The note reads…
“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.”
Text message reads…
“Good work, clown! Keep this phone charged and with you at all times. Don’t call me. I will call you … eventually.”
Brilliant huh?! More and more stories are travelling across multiple media platforms and offering a deeply engaging experience which is only possible in today’s media mix culture. But with so many layers, the consumer base becomes smaller as you are asking a lot of people’s time and imagination. For the casual consumer, are Warner Bros asking too much? And for the superfan, maybe they are asking too little? While this is probably too involved for most of us – those superfans get one hellova reward what with mobile phones, invitations to IMAX screenings, and ultimate bragging rights.
Having worked on two very similar campaigns – identifying the balance between meeting the fan community’s expectations and still remaining accessible to the casual consumer is very difficult. But if the objective is to create an entertaining experience for brand advocates who will spread the word, then it’s probably pretty successful. There may only be 22 key players, but how many more people are talking about it (as I am doing now)? How many are participating? And how many are listening? As with the Guinness Tipping ARG campaign, we are beginning to see fans group together in online knowledge cultures to gather information as well as wildly speculate. There are over 100 pages of speculation on this Guinness ARG forum, very interesting read!
The movie arrives in the US July 18th – let’s hope the movie is as much fun as this teaser…