[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/tdkvialoverview.flv 470 264]

I was just reading an interesting article in the new issue of Maxim (not available online, as far as I can tell) about 42 Entertainment, the marketing comapny behind The Dark Knight’s viral campaign when I stumbled across this video created by Alternative Reality Branding (via: FSR).

The bottom line effects of viral marketing on a film’s box office and DVD sales have yet to be proven. But watching this video on 42 Entertainment’s Why So Serious campaign will help make you a believer. It will be interesting to see how companies like 42 Entertainment and CampfireNYC (the film behind Terminator Salvation’s SkyNet campaign) will use the next few years to create a connection between the film and the potential audience. One can’t deny that the interactive experience is cool, but the arguemnt is if a viral is actually is worth the millions of dollars that it costs a movie studio.

For a film like The Dark Knight, I believe a viral keeps the fans excited and causes a word of mouth stir that is worthy of the investment. Fans feel like they are a part of the movie and take it upon themselves to promote the movie to friends, family, and anyone who will listen. On the other hand, Sony hired 42 Entertainment for The International. The resulting alternative reality game was just as good as the company’s Why So Serious campaign, but fans just wen’t interested and the turn out was minimal in comparison. My conclusion so far is that Virals only work in two arenas: 1. With a project hidden in mystery that fans are eager to uncover (ie Cloverfield) or 2. A Highly anticipated property that has a year or more runway to develop a connection with it’s audience.

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