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The Dark Knight Rises in Superhero Social Media

We’ve seen a whole host of excellent social media campaigns tap into the public conscience and push themselves onto the unsuspecting world. Although, you’d imagine Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, the series’ third installment, would have enough steam to carry it over the box office breaking line without the need for even a Facebook account in its name. However, the movie is cutting the social media cloth in some truly innovative ways.

A Brief History of Movies and Social Media

Now, we’ve seen some great campaigns for movies. From the origin of the species, in the vein of The Blair Witch Project, which used forums to drill up a buzz via forums and chatrooms back in the day, to a more recent game, Dante’s Inferno.

Dante’s Inferno buried its ASCII Art in source code of a number of sites including Digg, Daily Motion, WWE, IGN and others. After, you viewed the source and used it; you were then directed to a site. Here after entering the password you’ve found in the source code  on the site, you ended to end up downloading a secret file, which turned out to be a number of hidden high quality posters – quite nifty.

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

Interestingly, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises used a similar idea to get its social media campaign up and running last March. The official site, which was a black screen only, came with a cryptic audio file and source code, which was deciphered and lined up to a Twitter account.

Increasing on the complexity of Dante’s Inferno, this account linked to another with an encrypted photo. Users were prompted to tweet the hashtag #TheFireRises. When this was tweeted a number of times Bane appears on the film’s official site.

Even more interesting is the fact the image seems to be made up of tiny profile pictures of those who tweeted the hashtag. This picture becomes all the more interesting and exciting when it’s understood that the bad guy in the new Batman film had not been confirmed at this stage and was still open to much speculation.

Entertainment Weekly 

This image was then followed up with little in the way of news, until six pictures were leaked onto Entertainment Weekly’s site. This leaked images of Catwoman and Bane’s brawn, and of course, meant an immense amount of interest from Bat geeks.

The Most Recent Innovation

The latest in the line of marketing trickery came last week in the shape of Batman graffiti. A photo scavenger social media campaign asked members of the public to aid Gotham City Police find the hero of the movies – but how?

Well, with a fictional file on the thedarkknightrises.com about a criminal investigation for the arrest of Batman’s alter ego John Doe. This file claims that there are graffiti images of bats around the world left by John Doe. The public are then asked to photograph these and email or Tweet them as evidence to an address given for Gotham Police Department.

Warner Brothers then decided to give the public the 300 addresses of the graffiti on its site. Each one that was photographed unlocked a frame of a new trailer, which was completed by Monday night. The trailer was then posted on the web. The exciting thing was that the trailer for the film was not released until the end of the week, as part of the arrival of other superhero movie The Avengers: Assemble. This of course, drummed up a huge sense of excitement across the web for the movie and also shed some light on areas and characters in the film that are still unknown.

With the impending impressive social media campaign of Prometheus on the rise and the previous excellent Hunger Games drive just gone – it seems we simply have to expect these campaigns to be nearly as extravagant as the films themselves.
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Article by Cormac Reynolds from My Social Agency a UK based Digital Marketing Agency.

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