For months now, Warner Bros. has been working on getting the word about about The Dark Knight in a number of unbelievably super creative ways, and the fanboy-esque blogosphere has followed every step relentlessly. Just this week, they've released some more work, from a mocked up Gotham Times, to a subway map for the Gotham City Rail, to the Gotham National Bank, to political sites for character Harvey Dent, among many other things... just today there's some new game that may reveal a picture of The Joker.
I want to be clear about my view on this: I think this campaign is very clever, brilliantly executed, and just plain cool.
Do you really think that anyone in the mainstream media is watching this? Is there going to be a single person who buys a ticket to see The Dark Knight this summer, that wouldn't have done so if it weren't for this campaign? Furthermore, this is freakin' Batman! Is there a single person covering this stuff among online movie sites that wasn't going to see this movie anyway? Shouldn't this effort go towards a franchise or property that doesn't have the name recognition that Batman already has?
Chris over at MMM says:
"This continues one of the best online campaigns - yes, I’m going to say it - ever. This campaign is obviously being thought out by someone or a group of someones who are creating a powerful cohesive experience. I don’t think for a minute that these sites are being created haphazardly or without thought as to how they’re going to lead into the story of the movie, adding a bit to the story for those who are playing along."
I agree with him completely. BUT... is it worth it in the end? Will this movie make any more money with this campaign than it would have without it? This campaign had to be somewhat expensive to produce, but where is the ROI? How is Warner Bros. going to measure whether this campaign was successful or not in the end?
I'm a fan of things like this... to a point. I'd even like to think that this is where the future of advertising is headed (so that we don't feel like it's advertising at all). I just get nervous when I see massive amounts of work and energy wasted for no return.