Since the reveal of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, Christopher Nolan and Warner Brothers Pictures have made liberal use of the Internet and the viral nature it contains for the Batman films. Whether it was scavenger hunts that revealed new content or to mailing fictional copies of The Gotham Times, viral marketing was a huge part of the run-up to The Dark Knight.
Now that production for The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR), the third installment of Nolan's Batman series, is underway, the viral marketing has begun again, this time, making impressive use of Twitter and hashtags. Following the strategy of the first campaign, the TDKR marketing crew revealed the villain early on, and like the Ledger/Joker reveal, the initial image was obscured as individual pixels were peeled away.
The catalyst for the removal of these pixels was, of course, Twitter. Tweets that made use of the following hashtag -- #thefirerises -- resulted in another pixel being removed. This continued until the image was entirely visible, and it gave us our first look at one of the movie's main adversaries, Bane. Played by Tom Hardy, Bane is one of the more popular members of Batman's rogue's gallery, and Nolan's take on the character looks pretty damn good, much like Ledger and the Joker:
Click for a bigger image
While the use of Twitter was to be expected in today's world -- you should probably expect upcoming use of Facebook, too (maybe to fuel another scavenger hunt) -- it's the way the hashtag in question was found that make the TDKR's viral campaign unique. /Film has more:
Originally, if you clicked over [to TheDarkKnightRises.com], it was just a black image with some really weird chanting. A fan was able to look at the visual spectrum of that audio file and in it was…a Twitter Hashtag.
They even have an image of the audio file that the hashtag was deciphered out of:
Expect these kinds of reveals and other uses of the Internet's viral nature from Nolan's camp, whipping those of use waiting patiently for the next installment into a heady froth of anticipation of additional images, games, trailers and ultimately, the movie's debut date, July 20, 2012.
Thoughts on the early returns of the newest Batman movie-related viral campaign? Is it too early to worked up? What about the Bane reveal? Like it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.