The Dark Knight - Viral Marketing
The viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight was perhaps one of Hollywood’s
most spectacular yet and sparked off a major interest in viral marketing in the
industry as it exposed the true extent of the format.
Marketing company 42 Entertainment were hired to invent a major viral marketing
campaign for the film which centred at first around two
websites: www.whysoserious.comand www.ibelieveinharveydent.com (the latter is
now closed). I believe in Harvey Dentserved as a campaign website for Dent and
began to inspire audience members to support him, whilst in contrast, why so
serious was a site for fans of the Joker creating instant rivalry between audience
Why so Serious lead participants to a game, which started with a secret message,
which led to www.rorysdeathkiss.com, challenged people to take photos of
themselves in Joker-esque make up in front of recognisable locations. Those who
participated were rewarded with physical copies of The Gotham Times, whilst a
sister website was created:www.gothamtimes.com. An array of other websites
appeared after this, which created the ‘Gotham Universe’ and were related to
companies featured in the online newspaper.
The Joker online phenomenon grew to include a larger number of websites and links
eventually leading to www.Whysoserious.com/Steprightup that featured a
countdown clock to December 4th – the release date for the teaser poster and
trailer. This page also contained instructions to pick up packages in 22 American
locations at a particular time on that date, the package? – A birthday cake with a cell
phone baked into it.
Publicity will make use of the cast and crew. Firstly with a Press Pack sent out to
publishing houses with key information about the film, then through magazines and
newspaper interviews and articles. A Press junket will be held at which journalists
are invited to interview the cast and crew over one day (a great example of a press
junket can be seen in the film Notting Hill) and a Press screening will allow reviewers
a chance to write reviews of the film before its release. Stars who are considered
celebrities by the mainstream press will be followed by the media, adding further
publicity to the film. Finally the Premier will gain further exposure for the film.
Promotion involves synergy and cross-promotions such as the release of comic
books, novels or games related to the film, magazines and newspaper competitions
and promotions with other companies i.e. drinks, cereal and McDonalds happy
meals. Apparel and souvenirs related to the film can also be designed, for example t-
shirts, bags, lunch boxes and action figures.