Will we still get carpet bombed by mindless 30 second commercials in the future? (And by future I mean a couple of weeks from now.) Seems unlikely, but how will savvy marketers reach –and more importantly– engage us? How do you “reach people who are so media-saturated they block all attempts to get through.”
Perhaps with alternate reality games (ARG’s). That’s the subject of a fascinating article by Frank Rose in this month’s Wired Magazine (Issue 16.01).
“The initial clue was so subtle that for nearly two days nobody noticed it. On February 10, 2007, the first night of Nine Inch Nails’ European tour, T-shirts went on sale at a 19th-century Lisbon concert hall with what looked to be a printing error: Random letters in the tour schedule on the back seemed slightly boldfaced. Then a 27-year-old Lisbon photographer named Nuno Foros realized that, strung together, the boldface letters spelled “i am trying to believe.” Foros posted a photo of his T-shirt on the Spiral, the Nine Inch Nails fan forum. People started typing “iamtryingtobelieve.com” into their Web browsers. That led them to a site denouncing something called Parepin, a drug apparently introduced into the US water supply. Ostensibly, Parepin was an antidote to bioterror agents, but in reality, the page declared, it was part of a government plot to confuse and sedate citizens. Email sent to the site’s contact link generated a cryptic auto-response: “I’m drinking the water. So should you.” Online, fans worldwide debated what this had to do with Nine Inch Nails. A setup for the next album? Some kind of interactive game? Or what?”
I’m not a gamer. At all. But I love shit like this. Reminds me of the viral video snippets in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. The Wired article is well worth the read.