Learn Viral Marketing From Warner Bros.

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Making a truly successful online viral marketing campaign is not an easy feat to accomplish. So when a golden opportunity to see a brilliant execution of a successful viral marketing campaign – and learn from it – presents itself, we’re definitely taking it! Here’s how Warner Bros. pulled it off.
First, the company made a website for The Dark Knight, and put nothing on the page but a graphic.
Because people have been anticipating the movie so much, just the fact that they had put a site up for it got people excited. But when you click the image on the site, you are redirected to another site
, with the following graphic and that’s all.
After that, yet another site pops up, also (mockingly) in support of Harvey Dent and apparently defaced by the Joker.
However, this time there’s a catch. User’s can interact with the site, and each user, by entering an email address and a verification code, can receive an email which gives the user (X,Y) coordinates that when entered into a link (also included in the email) will remove one pixel from the defaced poster to reveal an image.
But since participation is limited to one user and one pixel removal per email address, the average user will only be able to participate once. And since every ardent fan is desperate to see what lies beneath, it is in the best interest of every fan to spread the word as much as possible and to get the process going faster and faster so that we can all see what lies beneath. At this point the users undoubtedly take matters into their own hands, start spreading the word and try to get other users to participate and remove pixels.
As you can see, the campaign has successfully become viral and the Warner advertising machine rejoices. Not only have the various sites been submitted to socially driven communities, but there have been incoming links from a multitude of film sites and blogs alike. Within a matter of hours, we have the following reconstruction of the final image:

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  • Morten K. Holst

    @Mikael Pittam
    How about: EXECUTION(er)

  • shor

    I’m 100% certain this is campaign is flying around creative agencies and marketing departments all around the world 😉
    Awesome viral concept… imagine if they used a higher res pic!
    They’ve just received a boatload of unique visitors, page views and more importantly a massive opt-in email database that can be updated with more Batman news.

  • Ciaran

    Very nice camapaign – although as a bit of a comics geek, I’m confused as to why I can’t get the second site to pop up, other than by clicking on your link…

  • Dan Schawbel

    very interesting viral marketing tactic. It must have been highly effective because of the creativity.
    Cheers to Warner

  • KG

    I can’t find an archival image of this, but telerik (a company that writes UI components for .NET and other Microsoft products) did essentially this same thing last winter, but with the users in it’s developer forums for their new product release.
    Not nearly as cool as a new Batman movie, but still, due credit to whomever telerik probably “borrowed” the idea from.

  • jason

    Look at the source code of ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com

  • Wayne

    Hit Ctrl-A if you don’t know how to View Source. You’ll see the hidden text that way too.