There was a time not too long ago when all a movie studio had to do to generate interest in a film was to slap a trailer together and buy a few TV commercial spots. With ticket prices climbing and a variety of in-home services able to provide entertainment on demand, studios must now look for creative ways to get your attention (and your dollars). Lucky for them, social media tools like Facebook and Twitter provide widespread (and free) access to consumers. “The Red Pill” is our weekly update on some of the more interesting ongoing viral ad campaigns. Updates this week include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Muppets, Super 8’s release on Blu-ray and examples from Tout, a video-posting version of Twitter. Hit the jump to check them out.
First up is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, director David Fincher’s upcoming adaptation of the best-selling Stieg Larsson novel by the same name. The film, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, has had an ongoing viral campaign spanning across such sites as www.dragontattoo.com, www.mouth-taped-shut.com and comesforthinthethaw.com/. While they’ve done the usual posting of images, clips and trailers, Columbia Pictures has also initiated the ever-popular scavenger hunt. New clues post in the form of images on the mouth-taped-shut page or on the @MouthTapedShut twitter account. Solving them gives you a word you add to the end of the whatishiddeninsnow page, such as /findher or /entropy.
The www.whatishiddeninsnow.com page features a grid full of images and blanks where pictures of the artifact will be posted after it’s been found. Usually, it’s a dried and pressed flower (those familiar with the source material will understand the meaning of the forty dried flowers), but Lisbeth’s motorcycle helmet and Harriet’s diary have also been found, along with the recent addition of a passport and bank bonds. From the open spaces in the grid, it looks like 5 more major items are available in addition to the rest of the flowers. Check back there daily and be sure to follow Twitter accounts @DragonTattoo and @MouthTapedShut for updates. Keep up with all our The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo news here. The film opens December 21rd.
On the less serious side of the advertising coin are The Muppets, starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper, as well as Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang. Their Facebook page is rife with fun bits of marketing, like their hilarious spoof on Twilight posters or a link to pre-order the movie’s soundtrack. One of the most memorable songs from The Muppets’ series is the iconic “Mahna Mahna.” You can add your own take on the song by submitting a clip to the “Never-ending Mahna Mahna Phenomahna” here. Playing it over and over is also a good method of torture. Check out all our Muppets updates here. The Muppets is now playing in theaters everywhere.
Relatively new to the social media scene is Tout.com, a video-version of Twitter where users can upload and share 15-second video status updates. MovieViral reported on Universal Pictures team-up with the site for their April 6th, 2012 release, American Reunion. Star Thomas Ian Nicholas posted on the movie’s Tout page asking users to check out their trailer and post a reply with your response. Who knows, one of the stars might even reply in kind. THR reports that 20th Century Fox is also getting involved with Tout to promote early screenings of Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo over Thanksgiving weekend. Tout users can post their replies at the movie’s page where one submission will win tickets to the San Diego Zoo. We Bought a Zoo opens on December 23rd. (What do you think of Tout? Pioneering social media outlet or just another thing degrading our attention span and leading to the downfall of civilization?)
Finally, master of viral marketing J.J. Abrams is continuing the campaign he started with Super 8 for the Blu-ray release on November 22nd. Via MovieViral and the @Super8Movie Twitter account, a “Super 8 Hide and Tweet” scavenger hunt ensued yesterday in major cities. Prizes included signed copies of the DVD/Blu-ray as well as tickets to the premiere of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The question is: why is Paramount so concerned about the Blu-ray sales that they’ve spent money on yet another marketing campaign? Perhaps this is just an indication of how ubiquitous viral marketing may become in the future, stretching from pre-production through to Blu-ray sales. Check back next week for the next installment of “The Red Pill” to go further down the rabbit hole.