Buzz in the blogosphere is that Warner Bros has really hit the ball out of the viral park (sounds gross doesn't it?) with their online promotion for the new Batman: The Dark Knight movie.
The Dark Knight will be released in 2008, so this movie is still in production. Keep that in mind as you check out this stellar viral effort that was compiled from a few outdoor ad buys, four static websites and a couple of stills. (This run down is brought to you by my friend Lisa with some insider info as well as Pronet Advertising, who has a great summary of the online component of the effort.)
1. Awhile ago a static site, featuring just the image at left appeared online.
2. Recently, unbranded posters featuring the image at right appeared in some major cities (LA is confirmed). Around the same time, the static Dark Knight site began to link through to the I Believe In Harvey Dent website, which featured an identical image.
3. Within 48 - 72 hours, all of the posters in major cities were defaced to resemble the image seen at the URL I Believe in Harvey Dent Too (at left). If you went to that URL the site would ask for your email address. After you submitted (reusabale database anyone?) you were sent an email with the coordinates for a pixel that you could remove from the site.
4. With users able to remove just one pixel each, a viral effort was underway to spread the word to get others to register and remove a pixel. In less than a day, thousands and thousands of unique visitors had visited the site to remove a pixel - ultimately revealing the face of the new Joker, Heath Ledger.
5. It doesn't stop there. If you visit I Believe In Harvey Dent Too now, you get a black error page with a message "Page not found." But, if you highlight the page with your mouse you see the message at left - an almost unending series of Ha ha ha's.
6. If you truncate those Ha ha's, the only letters left read "See You In December."
7. In case you're curious, www.seeyouindecember.com has already been bought by 42 Entertainment. What's more, Joker cards have started appearing at bookstores and other highly trafficked locales in various cities. Stay tuned for details friends, this thing ain't over.
GOD DAMN THAT'S COOL!!! I've never been a big fan of the Batman series myself, but this is the sort of thing that makes me want to go and see it. It's unreal that this entire viral component has been concocted out just a handful of assets and some basic Web 1.0 concepts. Just goes to show all those agencies and clients out there that you don't need a ton of money, or fancy microsites with flash components to make something go viral - just a die hard fan base and a really f'ing creative idea.
1/8/08 UPDATE - The comments on this post have been closed due to a shockingly high number of spam comments coming in. If you have something to share, email me directly and I will gladly post for you. Apologies!