A Not So Viral Campaign

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While Warner’s viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight has been incredibly successful and we have even covered it several times, today we will look at a not so successfully executed viral marketing campaign.
Microsoft, which used 42 Entertainment to manage the successful albeit quite convoluted I love bees viral campaign used to market Halo 2 is at it again, and this time the campaign isn’t just on the web, they’ve taken to the streets. Here’s a quick and superficial rundown:
1. A forum moderator who goes by the name of ‘Adjutant Reflex’ posts some cryptic messages on Bungie.net and Bungie.org.
2. People start receiving weird email number one.
3. Society of the Ancients takes to the streets and starts passing flyers.

All in all, the entire campaign is overly complicated and convoluted, just like the I love bees campaign, and in the end leaves the person trying to follow and decipher it a little too frustrated and confused for it to be fun. I echo the same concerns as Kotaku,

But, is this really the best way to promote a game? People on the streets will think they are just another group of crazies and players who are into Halo enough to recognize it as a marketing campaign are going to buy the game anyway. So who is the target audience for something like this?

The average person doesn’t understand what the heck is going on, and the people that do understand it, well they’re so devoted that you don’t need to market the product to them.
GameDrop has more coverage and Destructoid has even more.

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  • HMTKSteve

    Hey. Advertising executives need Ferraris too!

  • HR

    errr, not the best viral campaign i’ve seen :/ perhaps the video doesn’t show enough, but i would be much more impressive if there was ‘real’ master chief running around the streets with bunch of mechas ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Edward

    One thing that I think this campaign does successfully is helps make the plot of the game feel more real. However (and this is a big however), I agree that this campaign is a bit convoluted. It’s great for setting up the plot but not for promoting Halo 3. The campaign and the product are not close enough for me to make an easy leap. It takes too much effort to connect the dots.

  • Michael Chui

    FYI, the ilovebees campaign was on the streets as well. They were using random payphones to contact participants. Considering 42 Entertainment specializes in augmented reality games, this shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.
    The idea is to hook the hardcore players and market by filtering down via social networks via website propagation. So the hardcore Halo fan can tell his girlfriend to check this societyoftheancients site out.