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Arts and Entertainment

Fun With Viral Marketing: Cloverfield

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Viral marketing, when done right, can be an absolute blast. Case in point, a pre-Transformers preview for a new J.J. Abrams film, tentatively titled "Cloverfield". What starts out as an innocent, hand-held video of a going-away party quickly descends into front-row footage of the apocalypse, with people running through the streets of New York City dodging flying cars hurled by an unknown source... not to mention a closing shot that already has people talking (I won't ruin it). To be honest, it's one of the best teaser trailers I've seen in a while. Now there's a website attached to it that you can find here and youtube videos you can check out here.

As is the case with most of Abrams' advertising (like LOST), there's a puzzle involved (that I'm still trying to figure out) complete with creepy sounds and clickable tiles. If you double-click the star in the upper left it will open an email with the address "van@ethanhaaswasright.com" titled "I'm one of you, help me". If you email Van, you'll get a response with clues to the puzzle. Really, this is a great way to get people interested in a film they know absolutely nothing about. I'm already sold.

2 Rumored storylines and the first video from Van after the jump...

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Rumor #1: The movie is a new take on an old H.P. Lovecraft tale, which would be amazing. Abrams channeling Lovecraft (and all his evil monsters) is something I'd be very interested in.

Rumor#2: This is the American "Godzilla" that should have been made instead of that abomination with Matthew Broderick, which is another option I think would be very cool.

Solve the first part of the puzzle and you end up with this video from Van. It's classic Abrams, with convoluted wording and just enough info to steal your attention without giving you any solid facts (just like LOST).

It looks like the whole film will be shot "Blair Witch" style, but with less motion sickness and more special-effects. I think this is an inventive and clever way to approach the standard "monsters destroy earth" plot. Looking at Armageddon through the eyes (cameras) of everyday people sounds incredible. We've got a long way to go before the film opens in January, but the website is a hell-of-a-great way to kill 20 minutes (or more, I'm still working on it) if you're at work and your boss took Friday off.