The Dark Knight Rises’ Viral Marketing Victory

Ruoyu Wang
May 1, 2017 · 3 min read

Starting with a press released on May 19, 2011, a 14-month marketing campaign created a huge buzz before the release of the last Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rise directed by Christopher Nolan. Viral Marketing played a significant role in the rousing success of this campaign.

The engaging and interactive methods involved in viral marketing are effective ways to raise awareness of a forthcoming film. First, the use of social media contributed to engaging fans in the movie as well as attracting the attention of ordinary users on the social media platform. Followed by the press release, the image of Bane was revealed by fans who tweeted hashtag #theFireRises on Twitter. “Operation Early Bird” campaign also used Twitter to unveil the early prolog. These two events got people interested by inviting them to be participants.

Also, to unlock the third trailer for the film, fans were required to find graffiti drawings left by Batman in the previous movie, take pictures of them and submit photographic evidence by Twitter or email. The graffiti were located in more than 300 cities around the world. The connection between the movie and reality made fans feel involved with the movie. It was also a “brilliant way to get fans in a tizzy over seeing a trailer”. More importantly, it introduced the movie to a demographic that would have otherwise not had an interest.

Though the campaign started 14 months before the release of the movie, a series of viral marketing and four teaser trailers, as well as a six-minute prolog were released in sequence to keep audiences engaged.

Apart from viral marketing, Jubin stated that another strategy to market the film was to attach trailers to popular movies. The first theatrical teaser was appended to Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows. While the third teaser trailer played in front of movie:The Avengers in the theater. It provided a large potential exposure for TDKR.

Other marketing efforts also coordinated with viral marketing and contributed to engaging the fans throughout the film’s life cycle. For example, the impactful partnership campaigns integrated perfectly with other The Dark Knight Rises’ marketing activity. Batman figures were unveiled at the International American Toy Fair, and toy companies such as Lego, Mezco Toyz, and Hornby also released toys related to the film. TDKR logos appeared on Lotus Cars during the 2012 British Grand Prix. Other film-related products such as video game and film novelization were released alongside the film.

This integrated marketing campaign that includes online video and press advertisements, as well as an effective viral campaign together contributed to the success of the film.

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