On Friday, the highly anticipated and dreaded 2012 will hit US theaters and chances are you already know all about it...but exactly how huge is the advertising tidal wave flooding everyone's brain across the globe?
"I got's my eyes on you, Nibiru"
Being that I've been shamefully vacant from my blogging duties on Spill for months, I thought I could use some time to give you an overview of what's been put into motion to make sure millions rush in theaters for some good ol' CGI overdose. Brace yourself for a long (hopefully interesting) read.
Oh, and be sure to check my page on wedneday, as I'll give my review of the movie, lucky as I am to live in France were the movie is released early. Also, we do have wonderful croissants and women.
The digital extravaganza
These days, a movie simply cannot afford not to be present on the web and you don't need to remind Sony who's created a trully remarkable digital ecosystem for it's new flick. Of course, having an indecent budget helps but you've got to give those guys some credit: they did a hell of a job to build up on the prophecy-riddled paranoia from which the movie takes its roots and offer an interesting experience to users.
The campaign started roughly a year ago, when Sony released this teaser trailer urging people to "Google 2012", an interesting way to use TV to drive people to the web by avoiding a dull url address. Nothing too special you'd say, except Sony hadn't yet purchased any paid search advertising, letting people discover its promotional mini-sites hidden among the flow of real-life conspirationist blogs. I don't really know if this was intentional, but it surely helped to suck people into the whole theme of the movie, every real blog nourrishing the universe of the movie itself.
Here are some of the sites that you'd find if you decided to geek out (I won't go through all of them): This Is The End
Probably the earliest fake blog that was created to promote the movie. It introduces viewers to the character of Charlie Frost played by Woody Harrelson. An interesting spoof of paranoid bloggers giving enough content to read and watch to keep the interest rate fairly high. Charlie also has his own twitter account and youtube channel.
I'm not sure who's character is supposed to be behind this one, but it keeps the paranoiac mood going. probably the least enjoyable of the lot as it is mainly bulks of texts. Who likes to read these days, right.
I really like this one because it shows the level of dedication of the marketing team. It's a promotion website for Jacskon Curtis (John Cusack)'s last book. You can read about the author and even flip through the first chapter of the book. A really immersive way to learn more about this character.
Ok, I'll end this list with the masterpiece of the lot. The IHC website is impressingly well written, full of cool content and really sucks you into the mood of the movie. Amazingly enough it's not too cheesy and could even be said to be educational: you will find every possible theory on 2012 explained and you'll even be able to fuck around with a few nicely made apocalypse simulations. I've always wondered what i'd be like to control my own solar flare, awesome.
In total, 6 mini sites have been created and they're now all available from the official 2012 website. There was also an iPhone app i didn't get a chance to try. Overall, the digital campaign is in my opinion very smart and understands very well how people behave on the internet. Simply put, there is something to munch for eveyone, wether you want to get involve or just need a glimpse of what it's all about. They really did a good job at bringing the characters to life, updating with content to this very day. The campaign has roots in every popular social networks and updates constantly.
But wait, what about the rest of us, you know, those who don't actually spend hours on the internet?
Ok, digital is pretty fun: if you've got money and ideas, you can achieve very cool things and invite people to take part in an interestng and entertaining experience. But you also need to be visible in the physical world, where creating an interaction with people is a real pain in the ass. Lucky for Sony, money is the biggest helper in this case.
Because, hey, if you can't interact, what better way to make yourself notice than show everyone you're not here to fuck around and there is no escaping you. You know, like herpes. And like herpes, 2012 posters spread everywhere during the last week. I can't only occur for what I see everyday in Paris but it's mental. Everywhere I look there is a 2012 poster, and needless to say it's a pretty useless waste of money. Really, it just insures a faint inprint in peope's brain and also pisses your competitors off...because you bought all the bloody ad space there is.
But some of you might have seen some cool efforts like this one:
To my knowledge, this was only used in Rio but it's a sweet effort towards a more creative and interesting type of outdoor, rather than plain dull posters.
Now for the coup de grâce, Sony also cleverly implented some 2012 images in its new Brand advert, currently running everywhere in cinemas:
Seen it? That's right, you gotta love Cusack's face.
Is it really worth it?
Now, the big question would be, was it really worth it? Did this whole 360 campaign help to recruit any viewer? Fuck if I know, leave me alone.
One thing I do know is that it didn't recruit me: I was in right from the very start because I'm just a slut when it comes to seing a huge CGI shit hit the fan.
Cloverfield will remain in my opinion one of the best examples of remarkable advertising campaign for a movie, except for one detail: it underestimated the ability of people to find out the truth. The campaign built up so much anticipation around the real look of the monster that when the first images of it were released by clever users, the whole thing kinda deflated like a useless balloon.
If you want to look at the opposite end of the spectrum, Paranormal Activity did a wonderful job at building hype round itself with very little money...
2012 managed to market itself by using the reality of its ground rules to a maximum and had fun with them while proposing a truly entertaining experience to the people. Now of course, that probably won't save the quality of the movie...come back on wednesday for my views on the issue!