I am just a
sucker for viral advertising.
It worked with Halo 3, it worked with Snakes on a Plane, and by
God it's working with Cloverfield. By now I'm sure that you've seen
the ads for it. From Lost producer JJ Abrams, Cloverfield promises
to revitalize the modern monster movie genre and give to America what Japan
got with Godzilla. Only the catch is that no one knows what the
monster looks like yet. A carefully guarded Hollywood secret, the nature of
the Cloverfield monster is being kept hidden until the movie's release
Step into this part 1 of 2 look at the mystery and hype surrounding this sure
to be blockbuster...
For many, our first glimpse of Cloverfield came with the cryptic
teaser trailer premiered before Michael Bay's Transformers this past
summer. It starts out innocently enough with what appears to be home video
footage of a going away party in a swank New York apartment. However, after
the building begins shaking and the power goes out, the party goers find themselves
standing on the rooftop starring at a massive explosion and running from
falling debris. It ends with a shot of the head of the Statue of Liberty
sliding through a city street. There was no title, simply the words "In
As is often the case with big movies like Transformers, I end up
getting so blown away by one of the trailers before it that tend to forget
about the main attraction. This was just such a case.
From then on the movie went through a series of names, from 1-18-08 to
the mysteriously vague Project Cloverfield. It was also during this
time that a series of faux MySpace pages and Alternate Reality Games surfaced
to promote it. Similar to the Halo 3 "Iris" ARG I wrote
about in my Viral Ufology column a few months back,
this Cloverfield game likewise requires players to hunt through the
Internet to find clues to further the story. Unfortunately this time around
there was no mockery of the UFO community the likes of Society of the Ancients.
There are far too many aspects to this viral campaign for me to describe them
all, but the folks over at cloverfieldclues.blogspot.com
have been doing an awesome job keeping track of everything. Some notable
sites to check out for Cloverfield initiates wanting to bone up before
the release are slusho.jp
First off, at Slusho.jp, you'll be greeted with a cutesy Japanese Flash
website seemingly devoted to some kind of flavored drink. For astute JJ
Abrams fans, you'll recognize Slush-o as a fictional drink featured in Alias
and Heroes. For sale on the website is various Slusho-branded
merchandise that, according to those that have purchased it, come with memos
describing some sort of accident off of the Japanese coast. Also described on
the website is that its primary ingredient is some substance found deep in
the ocean floor. Considering the Cloverfield monster most likely
emerges from the ocean, I'd say it will have something to do with this Slusho
Over at 1-18-08.com, you're in for a bit of a surprise. Just leave the site
sitting there for 6 minutes and you'll hear an enormous roar blasting from
your speakers. Well worth the wait.
As I said at the beginning, I just love these massive viral ad campaigns.
Sure, there can be a dark side to them--especially when they involve hidden
shills weaseling their way into Internet communities and secretly promoting
something through deception--but ARGs and websites designed to create their
own communities for promotional and fanbase purposes are one of the best
examples of properly and effectively utilizing 21st century mediums. A far
cry from the invasive pop-up ads and email junk letters that absolutely nobody
likes, these new forms of web advertising are a win-win for all parties
Back to the movie, however, I'm still dying to figure out what that dang
monster looks like. As a special treat to you, I just so happen to have some
insider information about its possible appearance. We won't know for sure
until Friday, but my sources tell me that it’s a 10-story tabby cat
with a chitinous shell and aggressive demeanor. Here is my expert
artist rendering. Rumor has it that if you place a mirrored reflection of the
film's poster next to itself, you can see the face of some kind of monster as
well. Though honestly it's not as frightening as my creation.
Spoilers abound, be sure to check out next week as I provide a full review
and get to the bottom of this Cloverfield stuff. Until then, keep
watching that Internet.