The Dark Knight Rises – A Perfect Example of Viral Marketing

December 20, 2011 by IZE Creative

Seems Christopher Nolan has a real knack for online marketing techniques. Especially stuffs that go viral. He started off with the viral “Why So Serious” campaign in May 2007 for The Dark Knight,  that was to be released in July 2008. And he has done it again this time too with The Dark Knight Rises. For a movie that is to be released in 2012, they have started the Viral Marketing well in advance and that too in style.

On December 7th in Wired.com and on December 9th in EmpireOnline.com were released two images separately and exclusively that caught the media and public unawares as to what was the whole deal about. Exactly the beginning of a Viral Marketing campaign!

The images are shown below.

Leonid Pavel - The Dark Knight Rises Transcript - The Dark Knight Rises - Viral Marketing

dark-knight-rises-viral-campaign-image-leonid-pavel

The first sniff of all of this started a couple of months back with a campaign that eventually lead to the unveiling of the first picture of Bane, the villain in the movie. Media experts and Movie critics caught its scent then and there itself as the beginning of another Viral Marketing campaign from Nolan’s team. With the arrival of the fake CIA Transcripts, as shown above, at Wired’s and EmpireOnline’s office, TDKR (The Dark Knight Rises)  has silently announced that they plan to better the marketing campaign of its prequel – The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight too boasts of an amazing and hugely successful marketing campaign that was partly responsible for the huge success of the movie at Box Office. The other reason because the movie itself was fantastic. In May 2007, they began the Viral Marketing campaign of the  movie utilizing the “Why So Serious” tagline with the launching of their website, and also a fictional political campaign of Harvey Dent, with the caption – “I Believe in Harvey Dent”. They also established a ‘vandalized’ version of the Harvey Dent site, called “I Believe in Harvey Dent Too”, where e-mails sent by fans slowly removed pixels, revealing the first official image of the Joker. Amazing idea!

And the story continues with TDKR. When the movie’s website was launched, originally, it was just a black image with some really weird chanting. A fan took a look at the visual spectrum of that audio file, and in it was – a Twitter Hashtag! The hashtag when tweeted, slowly revealed, pixel by pixel, some kind of image on the site. The final image revealed, was also the first image of the movie’s villain – Bane.

The-Dark-Knight-Rises-Bane

The “CIA Documents” released, focus on the profile of a man named Dr. Leonid Pavel, a Russian Nuclear Physicist and another document on a conversation between the CIA and the Militia who are protecting him. Reading the documents it’s hard to find out the connection with TDKR but well, maybe that’s the whole point of it all!

The last of the images was posted by TDKR’s viral Twitter account – @thefirerises.

TDKR in fact sets scope for an example of good marketing done to the very best, if history is to be considered with respect to The Dark Knight. For marketers who have long spent millions and innumerable hours on the drawing board trying to come up with the secrets of Viral Marketing, here is something to learn from. With a good and solid start to its marketing strategy, let’s hope TDKR doesn’t let us down. Neither as a movie, nor as an epitome of Viral Marketing. Because if they carry on their strategy with the same intensity and creativity, at this time next year, all the marketing honchos would be writing and reviewing about what a perfect example of Viral Marketing success The Dark Knight Rises has been.

Till then, let’s wait for Summer 2012 when the movie releases.