Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Spotlight on: Batman (TDK) – The Dark Knight (2008)

Successful viral Marketing Campaign looks to continue with The Dark Knight Rises 2012

The 2008 film by Christopher Nolan was a huge box office, and cult success. The omnipresent media coverage that The Dark Knight (2008) enjoyed leading up to its release was a result of a tremendous amount of hard work, and a little bit of luck. Few campaigns have enjoyed, and endured the perfect storm and not only survived, but excelled. Here’s a look at some of the key elements.

A Great Film
You need a great product to sustain momentum. Excellent marketing can be the allure, but if the product lacks what is promised in the advertising, then momentum can stall. Lucky for movie goers and comic book fans, Christopher Nolan managed to create an exceptional product.

A Great Time
Timing is everything. There is a reason why James Cameron always times releasing his blockbusters in late November (see Titanic, Avatar). TDK enjoyed a release in a manufactured summer lull; one that allowed the hugely anticipated blockbuster to be released apart from other blockbusters. This is a tried and true tactic used by executives all the time.

A Great Tragedy
Many credit the loss of Heath Ledger as the catalyst which turned TDK from a good film, into a box office juggernaut. His tragic death was shocking, yet his performance was riveting.  Marketing executives should be credited here for turning a potentially taboo tragedy, into a celebration in his memory. There are countless examples of films that have faltered in the wake of a lead characters death. The marketing team handled a sensitive and potential disastrous topic with grace and dignity. 

A Great Viral Marketing Campaign
The viral marketing campaign leading up to the release of TDK will be used as a business case in colleges and universities for many years to come. The carefully choreographed and timed release of secondary and tertiary paraphernalia leading up to the movie (including the requisite action figures and lunchboxes, video games, and the excessive roller coaster theme park rides) reinforced the message that this was not just a movie; but instead was a transcendent generational experience that was not to be missed.

The viral marketing campaign was one of the most impressive, and comprehensive campaigns to date. There were mock ransom letters from the Joker that were published; websites; Bat Signals that could be found shining brightly in the sky all around the world; social media scavenger hunts to unlock Easter egg bonuses; and of course the fake Gotham News videos on YouTube. The careful shift in the marketing focus from Harvey Dent to the Joker after Heath Ledgers death was executed with class and decorum.

TDK will be remembered as one of the greatest viral marketing campaigns ever created and executed. As we approach the launch of the next and final installment of the Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan, with The Dark Knight Rises, what surprises will the marketing campaign hold? Will it be able to surpass the previous campaign? The marketing world anxiously awaits the answer.

The Dark Knight Rises – July 20, 2012 (Canada and USA). Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Marshall Crook and Peter Sanders (January 24, 2008). "Advertising: Will Marketing Change After Star's Death?". The Wall Street Journal: pp. B1.


All thoughts and opinions belong to Gorilla Punch Marketing. Gorilla Punch Marketing is an advertising firm located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We specialize in unconventional, cost effective forms of advertising. Our current focus is on Custom, Full-Coloured Pocket Sized Tissue Packs. These packs can be handed out at events, or given to current clients as a premium. With 4-panels for logos and messages, the product enjoys a lasting impression and increased ad recall over most traditional advertising mediums. Popular in Asia and Australia, we are bringing this cost effective, proven concept to North America. Visit our site www.GorillaPunchMarketing for more information. Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved.

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