Congratulations are in order to 42 Entertainment and all of the staff involved in the alternate reality game ‘Why So Serious?’ for taking home the coveted Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Cyber Lions ceremony on Wednesday, June 24.
According to an article by Ed White, Lars Bastholm, the Chief Digital Creative Officer at Ogilvy and president of the Cyber Lions jury, noted that the ‘Why So Serious?’ campaign “aggregated the elements of the Batman cultural phenomenon with an ARG, and added that the 18-months build-up prior to the film’s launch heralded a welcome trend in brands taking more time to create deeper relationships with consumers.” The article notes that fellow juror Bram De Rooij noted the underlying metrics supported the campaign’s success.
This is the second consecutive year that 42 Entertainment has taken home the Grand Prix Cyber Lions award. Last year, the company took home the prize for their work with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor for their work on the alternate reality game, ‘Year Zero.’
Congratulations again to the crew, which included Steve Peters, the previous owner of this website, ARGNet staff writer and frequent ARG Netcast panelist Brooke Thompson, and former ARGNet contributor Krystyn Wells.
It’s been a while since we’ve reported on the alternate reality game for the upcoming movie The Dark Knight, but that doesn’t mean that the action has stopped. In fact, on December 4th, after a long trail of tasks, websites and information spawning from a Halloween countdown from late October, fans of Batman and players of the marketing campaign were treated to a day-long, frenzied scavenger hunt set up by “the Joker”.
At noon EST, the mysterious countdown that was previously featured on Whysoserious.com was replaced by a strange carnival-style booth, in typical Joker fashion. A note attached instructed viewers to travel to specific real-world addresses to pick up a ‘very special treat’ under the name Robin Banks (get it? Robbing Banks? hahaha!)
Players quickly determined that the addresses were bakeries, strewn across the United States. At first, six addresses were attached to dirty stuffed animals hanging in the booth, but every hour on the hour, another five to seven addresses were hung. Within five hours, all twenty-two addresses had been revealed, as players scrambled to each location to pick up the ‘treat’.
It was discovered that the Joker had left cakes at each bakery, and lo and behold, the cakes had phone numbers written on them in icing! Even more interesting was how, when the number was called, the cake itself rang! Players found that after digging furiously into the cake, there was an evidence bag filled with goodies – a cell phone and charger, a Joker playing card, and a note which instructed the person to call a different phone number.
Once all the cakes had been found and the phones had been used to call the new numbers, the game page opened to reveal the new Batman: Dark Knight movie poster, and another special treat – invitations to IMAX screenings in five cities (New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto) on Thursday and Friday night, Dec 6th and 7th.
At the stroke of midnight (Eastern time, GMT -4) on Halloween, the newest chapter in 42 Entertainment‘s alternate reality game promoting the release of the movie “The Dark Knight” launched. Over the past few weeks, the website WhySoSerious.com depicted a slowly rotting Halloween pumpkin with a diminishing candle.
Just minutes ago, as the candle burnt out, the page changed to show 49 small pieces of paper on a worktable. Each piece links to a puzzle involving a US city. A note from the Joker says,
“Hey, clowns! Ready to do what you’re told? First, don’t start before daylight. With a police force this corrupt, it’s not safe to be out at night, and anyway, you won’t be able to see the things you want to find.
Follow all of my directions to the letter and send photos of what you find.
I’ll make it worth your while, I promise – for what that’s worth…
The campaign to promote the new Batman movie started in May with a handful of Joker playing cards discovered in a California comic book store, and led to a massive email campaign to reveal the new face of the Joker. Later in July, strange dollar bills were distributed at Comic-Con that led 140 lucky participants on a scavenger hunt throughout the city of San Diego. Now, it appears the scavenger hunt has expanded on a national scale as participants are encouraged to solve a series of puzzles and send in photographs.
Check back at ARGNet for updates as the story develops.
When Stephen Sondheim wrote Send in the Clowns, chances are good that he didn’t expect anyone to take him at his word. However, for 140 lucky participants, Friday morning at Comic-Con included a chance to become one of the Joker’s gang. If you haven’t met the Joker, perhaps it’d be best if you brushed up on your vigilante hero folklore. As it turns out, the Caped Crusader wasn’t around to stop the mob from taking over the streets of San Diego, moving effortlessly from location to location, many being aided by associates with Internet access, in an audition to fill one of the coveted slots in the Joker’s army. As it turns out, however, the luckiest of the lucky became real unlucky, real quick. Okay, not really — but it makes for a good comic book ending.
Now that I’ve thoroughly confused those of you that haven’t been following along with the happenings at whysoserious.com, let’s backtrack a bit. First, there were a number of uncommon dollar bills making the rounds at the Con last night, leading to the discovery of a creepy looking web site and a countdown. Next came the end of the countdown earlier today (10 am PDT) and a clue for the throngs of people ready for something big to happen. Once the game was on, it was a race that required a coordinated effort between those on the ground and people on the ‘net (unless you carried a Wifi-enabled device with you along the way) that took players to eight different checkpoints over 100 minutes of game play.
A quick update, for those following along at home: The countdown on whysoserious.com has ended, and a large group of participants have begun to play along with what appears to be a treasure hunt/puzzle trail. Those active on the ground need to either have Internet access, or help from friends that are able to solve online clues. A toll-free number (1-800-395-9646) was given to players at the Con, which leads to the next step in the trail (audio can be heard here). You can watch progress and play along at the following web sites:
Stay tuned — there will be more to come, including a summary of the day’s events, later on ARGNet.
Hey everyone! I have BREAKING NEWS here from Comic-Com!
Purchasing some overpriced “Stargate Atlantis Collector Edition” bottled water, I received a VERY unusual dollar bill in change.
George’s face has been obscured and replaced with a… can it be… somewhat JOKER-like face, and the caption below reads “WHYSOSERIOUS”.
This, of course, leads us to www.whysoserious.com – could the Joker be looking for recruits?
Join the puzzly goodness at http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/ or online IRC in #unfiction!