Forget red and blue pills; the clear pill is the last drug you’ll ever need! At least that’s what Bradley Cooper promises in his new promo for Limitless. The ad looks remarkably like the all-too-common pharmaceutical commercials on TV, but it’s actually part of a recently launched viral marketing campaign for the upcoming film.
The picture — directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist) — is an adaptation of Alan Glynn’s novel, The Dark Fields, which focuses on Eddie Morra (Cooper), a writer who stumbles upon a performance-enhancing drug. The drug, known as NZT, allows Morra to “access 100% of his brain, learn new languages and conquer Wall Street.” All’s well until the downside of the drug starts to affect him, with side effects such as “paralysis, psychosis, brain damage and sudden death.”
Limitless also stars Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish (Bright Star) and Anna Friel (Land of the Lost), with a screenplay written by Leslie Dixon (The Thomas Crown Affair). Hit the jump to view the viral promo and unlock your full potential.
Get sold on Bradley Cooper’s NZT commercial:
As far as viral marketing goes, the campaign for Limitless is looking to be one of the most thorough I’ve seen in a while. Recent marketing for TRON: Legacy, Inception and especially The Dark Knight raised the bar for studios to get their audiences involved by doing more than just purchasing a ticket. Limitless won’t be nearly as successful as those films, but so far the ad promo and website appear very clean and well-defined, almost indistinguishable from a legitimate pharmaceutical site. There’s even a number to call for more information.
(1-855-CLEAR-PILL – I called it. It’s moderately funny if you have three minutes to kill and no real life to speak of.)
Watch the commercial again. Doesn’t it make you want to try NZT? I mean, come on, any pill that I could take once a week and would turn me into Bradley Cooper? Sold! Until you get to the side effects:
“Some of these side effects can be life threatening and include insomnia (difficulty sleeping), extreme back pain, frequent urinary tract infection, nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion, mouth dryness, acute sensitivity to sound and light, weakness, exhaustion, feelings of extreme thirst and hunger, glandular issues, organ failure, increased sexual appetite or lack of sexual desire, impotence and feelings of limited self worth. Others reported experiencing violent thoughts, brain damage, blackouts, suicidal feelings, homicidal feelings, extreme paranoia, rapid aging, time dysplasia, psychosis and possibly even death.”
That’s where it becomes clear that this is a movie promotion which is taking jabs at our culture’s pharmaphilic tendencies. How strange is it that at least half of these complications are things we here in actual commercials on a daily basis?
For me, this viral campaign has done exactly what it set out to do. It grabbed my attention and made me look into Limitless past just a cursory glance. Depending on the direction they take it, the film could rank up there in my all-time favorite drug dramas. You’ve got your classic psychedelics like Valley of the Dolls, A Clockwork Orange and Alice in Wonderland.
Then there are the war-time drug epics Apocalypse Now and Jacob’s Ladder, which, respectively, showed the effects of recreational and prescribed drug use in the military. Or maybe Limitless will take a more contemporary view of lifestyle drugs and how they change our lives, as in A Scanner Darkly, Donnie Darko and Requiem for a Dream.
Limitless releases March 18th, 2011. While we wait, tell me, what’s your favorite drug-related movie?