Advertising for [X-Men: Apocalypse](movie:1194267) is already under way! Today saw the release of "found" interviews with people who claim to be some of the nation's top doctors and scientists. These scientists explain the mutant gene, with one conspiracy theorist openly expressing his distaste for coexisting with mutants. The marketing minds behind the upcoming film (which, mind you, has not even begun filming yet) seem to have launched an early viral campaign for the coming movie.
I love this kind of advertising: the immersive experience that brings fans in to take part in the events of the film. This method isn't really new: most folks with basic understanding of community management can tell you that the best way to captivate an audience is to make your audience the star of the show. While tons of movies have caught on to that method, here's a highlight of the best ones from the past decade.
I Believe in Harvey Dent - The Dark Knight
The earliest personal memory I have with viral comic book movie marketing has everything to do with a certain two-faced District Attorney. Alongside their Why So Serious campaign (a website that is still up and accessible) the folks behind The Dark Knight also launched a campaign for Harvey Dent's election - and took it a step beyond the website by kicking off a cross-country campaign rally tour. The "Dentmobile" and it's volunteers stopped in New York City, where I was living at the time, and launched a massive rally in front of Madison Square Garden for Dent. Fans were given buttons, shirts and posters to keep after the rallies. In this video, you can spot yours truly (then very brunette) in a bulky blue jacket with faux-fur trim, but more importantly, you can watch the frenzy go from rally to march:
Galaxy Getaways - Guardians of the Galaxy
Not too long ago, our very own Rose Moore took us on a tour of the galaxy via Marvel's Galaxy Getaways site, made to show off the wonders of the [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) 's incredible sci-fi universe. Through the Galaxy Getaways website, you could potentially (but not actually) book a trip through space to get away from the everyday irritations of ... whatever alien planet you're on.
The Daily Bugle - The Amazing Spiderman 1 & 2
When [The Amazing Spider-Man](movie:45497)'s marketing campaing originally launched, The Daily Bugle turned up as a functioning online blog that reported in-world news leading up to the events of the second movie. The most recent article is an interview with Gwen Stacy on May 1st - it hasn't been updated since.
No More Mutants/Magneto was Right - X-Men: Days of Future Past
Again, this isn't the first time the minds behind X-Men decided to do something cool. At San Diego Comic-Con 2013, flanking either side of the widely smiling faces that were handing out anti-mutant posters (which were way cool, by the by) were pro-mutant protesters who just had enough. Of course, their cries could hardly be heard over the slick setup of the Trask booth. Check out the video below:
Deep Space Radio Wave Project (DSRW) - Man of Steel
While the site is no longer functional, the folks behind [Man of Steel](movie:15593) put together a little project of their own: the DSRW, a group claiming to be a "private non-profit research organization with a network of world-wide interstellar communication facilities that support the exploration of our solar system and the universe."
The group claimed to have detected an alien message and posted it as a puzzle, which fans made quick work of decrypting. Within no time, a new site - http://www.n77d58w76d19.com/ - was unlocked by the fans' efforts, which revealed a Kryptonian Countdown Clock. If you check the website now, it simply plays the movie's trailer.
And so here we are...
Standing out within a sea of marketing campaigns isn't easy, but the decision to launch one for Apocalypse this early on is a sign of a much more massive campaign effort. Granted, the video could have easily been a one-shot, but with the potential to let fans run wild within the world of X-Men, it would be a missed opportunity not to give the fandom what it wants: Mutant powers.