For this next post I’m looking at one of my favourite films.
In 2008 Christopher Nolan brought us the second of his 3 Batman films The Dark Knight. This is the film where Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent launch an assault on the Mob during which they let the clown out of the box, The Joker who in turn became bent on turning Gotham in on itself and bringing any heroes down to his level.
As many fans of the films may or may not know The Dark Knight earned $534,858,444 in North America and $469,700,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $1,004,558,444. It became the fourth film in history to gross more than $1 billion worldwide and the highest-grossing film of 2008 worldwide. It is currently the 16th-highest-grossing film of all time worldwide. It made $199.7 million on its worldwide opening weekend which ranks 28th on the all-time chart.
In an attempt to cross $1 billion in worldwide gross, and in order to increase the chances of the film winning Oscars since the voting for the Academy Awards was approaching, Warner Bros. re-released the film in traditional theatres and IMAX theatres in the United States as well as in other countries on January 23, 2009. It finally accomplished its goal to cross the $1-billion-mark, in February 2009. Therefore, as of March 2009, its total earnings stand at over $1 billion worldwide.
But there was a marketing campaign that helped push the film to reach these heights that many people don’t credit as much as they should. A company called 42 Entertainment where given the task of looking after the viral marketing for The Dark Knight they came up with a plan and strategy that brought us events which would appear on the time line of the trilogy to bridge the gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It would show us the Joker coming to the front of the criminal world and the campaign to get Harvey Dent elected as District Attorney. The fact it was just a simple use of materials already available to promote the film, and all they did was just deface it with a joker smile, eyes and a “HA, HA, HA” written in red font really worked. Couple this with custom built websites for Dent and The Joker plus campaign materials designed and produced under the slogan I Believe In Harvey Dent – It became iconic.
Below are photos of fans backing their sides cause
Below is the quote of the 42 Entertainment website.
“Why So Serious?” was designed as a 360° alternate reality experience that played out over 15 months leading up to the release of The Dark Knight. Spilling out over a multitude of different platforms, this deep immersive campaign recruited the audience to become real citizens of Gotham City. Over 11 million unique participants in over 75 countries fueled the rise of the Joker as henchmen, campaigned for Harvey Dent to get elected as District Attorney, and even took the law into their own hands by becoming copycat Batman vigilantes.
Below is a photo of the I Believe in Harvey Dent pack you could get and a copy of the Joker Poster
From calling phone numbers written in the sky, to hunting down GPS coordinates in order to find mobile phones baked inside of birthday cakes “Why So Serious?” was an experience like no other. As these fans collectively scoured the globe in search of clues, their incredible passion generated billions of impressions in the press and blogosphere setting a new benchmark for immersive entertainment.
Below are some short videos summing up the campaign.
The stats for the campaign are on the videos below and are really quite impressive:
These are the websites set up and used and still running today: