Posted by: Justine | September 25, 2010

What the Heck Does That Monster Look Like? : Cloverfield and Viral Marketing

The film Cloverfield, released in 2008 and made with a budget of $25,000,000, made serious bank at the box office gaining seven times its budget and breaking the 100 million dollar barrier. A monster film with a then-new style of presentation – the shaky cam effect – might sound not that different from any other monster film even with the gimmick. But this one’s really different. This movie is one of the first ones to successfully utilize viral marketing.

How did they do it? Well by not showing what the monster look like! That must made many people have an itch to find out what the heck is destroying the Statue of Liberty. The studio even kept knowledge about the film secret even from the online community. This was done partly because monster films generally don’t sell well in America and that viral marketing back then wasn’t as prevalent as today. The sudden appearance of the trailer for the film fueled media speculation over the film’s plot, ranging from the highly plausible (a new Godzilla film) to the highly unlikely (a live-action Voltron, although that would have been totally cool!). The film also drew alternate reality game enthusiasts that followed the viral marketing campaign.

I would seriously love a live-action Voltron movie. Seriously.

Puzzle websites were released to promote the film with pictures from the movie. An official website was eventually created which contained a trailer. A drink named Slusho! served as part of the viral marketing campaign to add to the mythology of the film. Viral websites for Slusho! and a Japanese drilling company named Tagruato were also launched. There are also other websites like Jamieandteddy.com and 1-18-08.com that contain hints at the contents of the movie.

... and eight will send you to Heaven's gate.

I liked how the director of the film described the campaign as “almost like tentacles that grow out of the film and lead, also, to the ideas in that film.” I think that it was a brilliant move to have prospective viewers have a unique experience before watching the film and after. Viral campaigns like these can make the movie-going experience richer.

To all who haven’t seen the movie, this is how the monster looks like:

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Responses

  1. You know, you should learn to answer your own questions. 😀 What does the monster look like??

    The cinematography (of the trailer, at least) reminds me of one of the movies I never regretted watching: Paranormal Activity (I heard part 2 is coming up, but I’m not too sure). It gives a feel that you’re actually the person holding that cellphone, recording everything. Good play on the producers of Cloverfield. One aspect of viral videos down! More to learn, however. 😛

  2. I have to say that the film was good. I am a monster movie fan, and may I just say that the depiction of the cloverfield monster, the mayhem it causes, and overall impact of the movie is quite enjoyable.

    Cinematography wise, nothing revolutionary though. Sure effects are a lot better now. But the “documentary” style of filming was used as early as the 90’s

    Makes me wonder, were viral videos present in some form in the past??


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