May 4, 2008

Viral Marketing Techniques Exploited in Cloverfield

During the year 2007 in the month of July, All theaters were being ran as normal. Popcorn being popped and concession items being sold. The only real difference is the long-awaited arrival of Michael Bay's Transformers. During these summer slams, big-budget movies always deliver the action and stars. While the cheerful audience awaited for their re-vamping of a nostalgic tale of machines to begin, their pleasant experience was ruined, savaged, and raped by a little teaser called 01-18-08.

This conundrum wrapped tightly in its own carriage was an untitled film with no discernible plot. All we bare witness to is a group of New Yorkers at a party for a friend named Rob. While they are drinking and mingling with the socialite crowd, a loud and strange earthquake and explosion is heard. Upon going to the roof, Our mysterious cameraman exclaims "Looks like you should have left town a little bit earlier" This foreshadowing is of the most menacing kind and leaves you speechless as you see the head of our Statue of Liberty crash down a street.

This video was then recorded by every sort of device known to mankind and mirrored to any site it could, only to be pulled by Paramount days later. Questions began popping up all over forums and discussions. People started to gossip about the endless possibilities. Unsound theories showed no remorse as they popped up everywhere, vastly covering up any possible theories on the film. Voltron, Cthulhu, Dodo, and Godzilla are just a few examples of what this creature was interpreted to be.

The hysteria of the cinema community wouldn't be extinguished even after Abrams revealed in an interview that the creature would be entirely original. The biggest impact of the trailer might be the New Yorker screaming "I saw it! It's alive! It's huge!" Cause of the teasers short time it had to be filmed, the word was slightly slurred and many people derived the word "Lion" out of it. Not only did we have rabid fans thinking it was a Lovecraft film but now we had them thinking a giant lion was destroying NYC.

Numerology even took a turn when YouTube videos and blogs were posted explaining the amount of numbers in certain key phrases and deducting a hidden meaning. After all of these were debunked, all the theories were taken down by the original writer, for shame i guess. LOST theorists even began trying to add it up. JJ Abrams, after all, is a hype machine. The man lives for the climax and always delivers. In the teaser, Rob's brother is wearing a Slusho shirt. As you might know, Slusho exists in the ALIAS universe, also belonging to Abrams.

Once you delve into the official Slusho website, you are greeted with smiling cartoon sea creatures. Possibly a horrifying environment depending on how you associate this lovable drink with a creature capable of total absolute annihilation. Early on, theories of the monster being attracted to a sweet nectar used in Slusho sprang forth, giving the film new life and a ridiculous tone. People backed up this speculation and others dismissed it from the get-go, whereas the element of Deep-Sea drilling did fit.

It was only a matter of time before the film got released in theaters. Viral marketing sites appeared all over the Internet. Blogs began popping up including Ethan Haas Was Right. This site in particular was falsely connected to the mythology that already begun to surround the untitled project. Abrams had an interview conducted with him not too long after that stating while their were sites out there, Ethan Haas was not one of them. This is when the first official site was noticed.

Several pictures were scattered amongst a flash canvas of black. You could interact with these pictures; dragging them around and flipping them over to see the contents on the back. We started out with pictures of the friends at the party and then several which were a bit more in depth. One of two women's faces, both contorted in horror, staring at something monstrous and another of a Japanese chef with a recipe on the back. People immediately began dissecting these photos and several even went as far as to find a pattern in hair between the girls heads and trace a gargoyle face.

Time was counting down till that day in January and people still didn't know what to call this film. Around this time, a teaser poster started popping up in various places including Comic-con. The poster featured a headless Statue of Liberty standing defeated while being grounds to a ripple in the water which leads to the shore of a devastated New York. Many fake names like 01-18-08, Slusho, Cloverfield, Cheese, Monstrous, Furious, Colossus, The Parasite, and Grayshot were all proposed and used to distract the outside world from gathering more information than they initially wanted or even expected. Around this time, word of a trailer attached to Beowulf with an official title begin to leak.

The response was enormous. The film was finally titled; Cloverfield. Cloverfield is the military name for the project, and it is also a road Abrams uses to get to his Santa Monica house. The success of controlling the information surrounding this film was all thanks due to the cast and crew. When the auditions were held, the actors were told nothing of the script and were given a piece of script from ALIAS to work with. Controversy encircled the film after the pinnacle release of the trailer. 9/11 allusions were all tied in. People would be whispering "It's too soon..." for a while now.

More pictures debuted on the mysterious site. If you left it open for 6 minutes, a chilling roar rips through your speakers leaving you slightly unnerved. Each of these photos in time-stamped to relay a series of unfortunate events. These times would conflict with the dates presented in the film, but i applaud their efforts on all other planes. This is when Tagruato made its viral release. It is a Japanese drilling company which has been linked to the awakening of the monster. Its logo is a simple one that can be seen in the film and is linked to the fate of Rob.

Soon after the release of the film, many things were noticed. The satellite falling from the sky, the graffiti Slusho, and the reversible audio clip at the end of the credits. All of these expand your Cloverfield experience and offers arguable destinies for every character. T.I.D.O.wave websites began to be born from the terrors of the Tagruato company. These two warring factions over eco-terrorism continue to write blogs and tie the film in further; For example, after the release of the film, Tagruato's page was experiencing technical difficulties due to a downed satellite.

All the characters in the film had an adjacent myspace on which they blogged and conversed like every one from this contemporary generation would. On the release of the film, they stopped visiting their respected myspace's due to the events and most of them dying off. After the film premiered and Hud was bit in half by the monster, his height changed from 6'something to 2'9. Quite a comedic effort on their part. In this .gif below, we can see clearly what befalls the lovable cameraman.

Jamie and Teddy (password: jllovesth) is a website featuring the woman who appears passed out on the couch during the film. During these viral videos that are sent to Teddy from Jamie, we see many hardships and heartbreaks which boil down to a tape from Teddy saying he has been captured by Tagruato and which leads to the climax of Jamie going to the Rob's party (Lily's Party)

So amongst a plot device of deception and terrorism from foreign companies comes a Cloverfield manga called Cloverfield/Kishin. The manga is in 4 installments with the fourth not out yet. It sheds a gratuitous amount of light on all these strange ongoings. As for the origin of the monster, not much is explained. We see a Tagruato ship dragging the creature under the ocean. Kishin is a boy who is motherless and is constantly bullied. After an incident at sea, Clover breaks free and begins to jump (Yes, jump. That explains how it got around NYC so fast) towards Tokyo in order to find the strange feeling that it senses.

After some Slusho frames, Kishins biological father meets up with him and explains how his mother put the "God's Vestige" into Kishin's body. This is explained by a bizarre cult that worships Clover as a god. The Vestige is a piece of the "gods" DNA and creates a psychic link between Clover and the boy. After you discover that his mother was killed, he is saved by his father, only to be put in a suicide bombing situation involving his father.

His father understands the power in which he holds is leading the creature into the heart of Japan and decides to sacrifice him and his son. Right as he pulls the trigger, Clovers hands bust through the building and shields the young Kishin. After his madness snaps, he climbs atop of the impressionable Clover and begins to march toward the destruction of earth. The fact that Clover has attacked a city before the fateful night in New York is questionable. If this happened, wouldn't we have heard about it?

This is a video from the Spanish version of Cloverfield. While from an American view, nothing seems out of place but something is afoot. The reporters in the background dialogue is translated to "We have some news about other city's who was already attacked, but we don't know what it's happening... the communications from some sites were cut..." Most people will immediately dismiss this because our government tells us everything. If you recall any viral materials involving Tagruato, it is proven that this company is capable of deceit, murder, and kidnapping. Surely this hazardous company can conceal an incident.

In the manga, we see Clover attack Tokyo, ripping it apart. The creature manages to kill his worshipers, innocent civilians, and is even shown to purposefully pull the parasites off of its body to attack and flank the panicked city. Clover is intelligent and is fully aware of what he is doing. In some scenes in the comic, he is shown being shackled up and captured, thinking aloud not to wake him.

He grabs people and eats them, squashes helicopters, and is being controlled by a young boy. The main character in the film, Rob, would have been a victim each way. Hud's infamous line "Looks like you should have left town earlier" was previously mentioned in regards to being mysterious.

That line is also the most ironic line in cinema history. Had Rob left town earlier, he would have just ended up in Tokyo when the monster made its explosive debut. So now that we know Rob is a doomed character and chose the better route; dying with love. In recent Cloverfield news, the main website has been altered. The trailer begins as normal but is cut off 6 seconds or so in with an alternate ending. The way its prominence is shown on the site suggests that even though it is alternate, it still is affective in the right reality. Beth might still be alive, and due to the clip at the end of the credits, it is heard that Rob was still alive too, but the harsh reality is that the mysterious face is probably a member of the military.

The latest viral site is This website requires a username and a password which was found to be on every copy of Cloverfield sans the Steelbook edition that everyone pines over. The username is alysehanssen and the password is 11112014349. The index directory lists three deep-sea photographs which show Clover's positioning at the incident of the Chuai station. The second photograph is a Tagruato submersible "shedding some light" on the parasites. This may or may not be on the ocean floor. It would be highly convenient if it was found on the back of Clover.

Despite having been out on DVD for a couple of weeks, the viral marketing is going strong. Cloverfield opened this path for many films now. The Dark Knight used some of these techniques to its advantage before the untimely death of star Heath Ledger. There are many more questions that circle this limitless mythology of Cloverfield, for example, What is the mysterious new symbol which resembles a sword with a 6 or 9 on it? It might be impossible to discuss every hidden aspect surrounding the film. Cloverfield is an amazing experience, but it stops short unless you pay attention to the happenings in it's universe. Special thanks goes out to the folks at CloverfieldClues for keeping us all up to date.


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