The Dark Knight Has Risen Thanks to Cryptic Viral Marketing

thedarkknightrises screenshot

Image from: TheDarkKnightRises.com

As the weather warms up (or if you’ve been in the northeast lately, cools off and rains), we can’t help but think about the awesome movies that Hollywood will be putting out this summer. Two of the most anticipated films this year, The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers, are set to be released soon (Avengers tomorrow and Rises in July), and both have drummed up buzz in interesting ways.

While the movies themselves can be seen as polar opposites–as much as two superhero movies can be–they have employed similar marketing techniques to ensure their respective successes.

Looking at unique visitors to TheDarkKnightRises.com, we can see its explosive debut in May last year followed by a steady decline as interest waned while eager moviegoers await the film’s arrival.

uvs to thedarkknightrises com

However, just this week, on Monday night, the latest trailer for Rises hit the web and despite the decreasing interest in the site over the last few months, fans flocked to the site in droves and nearly 1% of all U.S. Internet users visited the site on Monday and Tuesday.

daily reach and attention for thedarkknightrises com

Looking at numbers like those, it’s clear that the viral marketing and social media tactics used to promote the film have been working. Having fans unlock exclusive new content through Facebook and Twitter is a great way for movie studios and other businesses in the entertainment industry to generate buzz through virality. Keeping in mind that content is always king, how do you make a loyal fan base even more loyal? Apparently through secret countdowns and cryptic messages like the ones “leaked” to selected media contacts containing partially censored “CIA documents.”

What do you think? Is mystery-marketing still a viable means to grow your audience, even after the hype has started to fade? According to Compete PRO data, visitors to TheDarkKnightRises.com in March 2012 were 66% male. Do you think that the style of marketing movies like Rises has anything to do with the typically male-dominated genre? Let us know what you think in the comments!

About Jared DeLuca:
Jared is currently the Associate Digital Marketing Manager at Compete (Millward Brown Digital). He is a graduate of Northeastern University, having achieved his B.A. in Communication Studies. If you like what you read, you can connect with him on Google+, Twitter, or on LinkedIn.