Sunday, January 8

Looking for an alternate reality?

There's a unique take on an alternate reality game (ARG) that has launched this month. I read about it in Wired a few months ago (Link: Hey! What's That On Your Shirt?). Basically, to promote their clothing line, Edoc Laundry has created a fictitious band called Poor Richard. The band has lost its manager, and the clues to solve the mystery are hidden in the clothes. Pretty neat idea. No word yet whether it's been successful for them.

If you're unfamiliar with ARGs, they are mostly used as a form of viral or buzz marketing. The basic gist of these campaigns is that people talk about them, forward emails, share links, etc.

Many examples can be found in the video game world. Halo 2 had its ARG that started when at the end of its trailer, viewers saw an obscure website address ( come onto the screen as if there were a problem with the ad. Gamespot had a good story on the ARG when it launched (Link: Halo 2 hype hoax).

A recent ARG for the Xbox 360 title,
Perfect Dark Zero, also integrated the mobile world. Basically, you could have Joanna Dark, the central character of the game, "whack" a friend by putting out a "hit" on them. The target would receive an email with a link to a video that ends with them seeing their name on the toe tag of a deceased patient. When the job is done, you get a call on your mobile phone with a message saying so. Here's an article on that campaign - (Send Joanna After Your Friends).

Another form of buzz marketing comes in the form of viral email campaigns such as Burger King's
Subservient Chicken campaign. While quite bizarre, it was strangely effective.

If you know of others, let me know.

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