The Dark Knight’s social media advertising
WHY SO SERIOUS?
• Why So Serious? was a viral campaign for The Dark Knight. It was
an interactive game that started online but spilled into the real
• Users were encouraged to side with either ‘The Joker’ or ‘Harvey
Dent’, being contacted by the character by e-mail, on the phone
and through websites.
• A list of websites used as part of the campaign can be found
• Some of these sites are ones ‘created’ by the Joker, such as
• Some, however, are ‘vandalised’ versions of supposed real
‘Gotham’ websites – these flesh out the reality of the world of
the film, as it gives the fictional city online context.
• This is the voicemail left by ‘The Joker’ once users signed up.
• This interactivity, combined with e-mails and texts, made players
feel involved in the film and its campaign, as each clue left via
these services led to the player uncovering a trailer or poster etc.
• Players were encouraged to rally for either ‘The Joker’ or ‘Harvey
Dent’, and most took this very seriously.
Why was it so effective?
• Target audience: people who enjoy ARG (alternate reality
games) generally enjoy comic books and their adaptations. It
also hits the young target audience, as younger people tend to
want to make a stand and be heard.
• Scale: the scale of the game was extremely vast. It was
worldwide and involved millions of people in the game. Involving
people made them want to see the film as they felt they were a
part of it.
Why was it effective?
• Heath Ledger’s death: Warner Brothers really cashed in on the
death of Heath Ledger, using his image as The Joker for most of
its marketing. It is well known his death involved preparing for
The Joker, and so people would want to see what destroyed
• Batman’s non-appearance: Batman is practically non-existent in
this campaign. This makes it feel as if the game is the set up for
the film, and in the film Batman will come and sort out the
problems the game has caused. This once again involves the