In an attempt to build buzz on a film, marketing campaigns are employing elaborate viral efforts online, from YouTube videos to elaborate websites, which create word-of-mouth - an effective form of promotion - and often engage the audience in some form of interaction and games.
Campaigns maintain interest, providing insider knowledge for those in the know, even when the film release is scheduled months in advance, such as Tron Legacy. A successful campaign leaks out information, such as characters, storyline, and footage.
Viral campaigns "extend the narrative," said Repo Men director Miguel Sapochnik at SXSW film conference. Iron Man 2 featured websites with a mock Stark Expo.
Here are some current campaigns:
Following up his successful campaign for The Dark Knight, director Chris Nolan, has launched an online scheme for the sci-fi thriller Inception, starring Leonardo Dicaprio. Including an online game is promotional material like the latest trailer. Also interviews with scientists who specialize in dreams, titled Chris Nolan's research:
Another impressive viral campaign is from Tron Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 sci-fi film. It started last year at Comic-Con and will continues through the December release. It involves real-world light bikes and fun games such as Space Paranoids. An actual press event was held by a fictional tech company Encom that was ‘hijacked' by fans who believe Jeff Bridges' Kevin Flynn is alive.
J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) launched a viral site at www.scariestthingieversaw.com, a name alluded to in the Super 8 trailer which leaked online, perhaps intentionally. Still steeped in mystery, the official website of this sci-fi film to be released next year is online:
Toy Story 3
A departure for Pixar, which doesn't usually participate in viral campaigns, the studio has released images of the new toys for months, building anticipation. It also created a YouTube video for one of the toy characters, Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear, to look as if it's a advertisement from the 1980s. In addition, college campuses will get screenings of the film - minus the ending.