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Viral Marketing

Posted on Aug 17th, 2007
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    So what is the coolest new viral campaign online and why? Check out and then come back here.

    There isn’t anything on the page, is there?

    Certainly not that photo of Aaron Eckhart that can be found by removing “too” from the URL:

    There’s simply a message saying “Page Not Found”.

    Do you feel like me the first time you viewed this site, thinking that you must have missed part of an exciting new campaign for the upcoming Batman epic “The Dark Knight”, of which Harvey Dent, Gotham’s DA and future criminal mastermind “Two Face” would, surely play an integral role? Do you feel compelled, like I did, to search out a forum for more?

    No need for that – I’ll tell you everything you need to know here.

    First, while viewing the site, go to the “Edit” option in your browser and select “Select All”. Without spoiling anyone’s surprise, it seems clear that the Joker will play an overwhelmingly welcome role in this film.

    Ah, but that’s not all.

    Copy the text from the page into a standard word document.

    Do a find/replace for “ha” and replace it with a blank space, to discover a secret message indicating when we may see our first glimpse of Heath Ledger in character as The Joker.

    [Lee: With a little checking, there’s this strange image of what might be the joker and this site: Rent a Clown. The marketers of this viral site have even stimulated discussion (and links) on Wikipedia “Viral Dent/Joker Page” and an entry on DMOZ]

    What makes this a great viral ad?

    • It’s intuitively geared towards fans by ensuring a prominent character’s name appears in the URL of the page.
    • It’s designed to create discussion. Even I, as one of the bigger Batman fans, had to do more searching to discover other users who have found all the little tricks and secrets within this campaign. In that sense, the ad can be passed along from user to user infinitely as each one discovers a new little secret.
    • Ultimately, this ad shows extremely little. Just enough to excite us for next summer, when…
    • There’s a new Batman movie releasing on May 28th!

    Any campaign that can achieve an objective of turning a film into an event, complete with a fully engaged online community nearly a full year in advance, is the very definition of an effective viral campaign.