The marketing campaign for the upcoming Batman movie “The Dark Knight” is pure genius. This is the one of the first times I’ve seen multiple online guerrilla venues to promote a brand. I have yet to discover the ad/media agency behind this, but it’s caused quite a stir.
The new Batman movies (with Christian Bale) are a reinvention of the Batman enterprise. The content and approach of the new movies are darker and explores character development, steering away from its cheesy predecessors of the 90s. This reinvention carries over to the online medium. Because Batman has a cultural heritage (decades of comics, t.v. shows, toys, movies, etc.), it has an existing cult-like following. Creating a world around this is no simple task, as execution must be tactful.
The whole premise for the campaign revolves around the user/viewer becoming engaged in the world of Gotham–it’s characters, activities, sights, and sounds. This engagement marketing is very Web 2.0–utilizing User Generated Content to propel the projects further. One example of this is the Why So Serious site (screenshots above). The atmosphere surrounding the Flash site is very covert and mysterious. A viewer is encouraged to submit photos–not with a generic “submit now” button–but through the copy, graphics, and hints of a secret Clown society. If you are pro-Batman, there’s Citizens for Batman, or if you’re interested in politics, you could support Harvey Dent’s bid for District Attorney. Another great site is the mutation of the Gotham Times to the HaHaHa Times by clicking the headline. The campaign is very strategic and fluid as it’s been timed to coordinate with various events–from Comic Con Clown Recruitment to Movie Screenings.
The intelligence of this campaign is due to its non-explicit advertising; it’s about discovery and exploration. It allows people to come to their own conclusions about certain characters or activities. There’s no central homepage listing for all the sites–adding to the mystique of the campaign as it’s user-generated–from articles, other bloggers/fans (Batman Blog), and countless searches.