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Your instructions are clear; proceed to a nearby bakery and give them the name "Robin Banks" (Robbin' Banks, get it?). There you'll receive a cake with the words "Call Me Now!" written in icing, along with a phone number.

But you don't have a phone. don't suppose that there's a phone INSIDE the cake? You tear into the cake, and quickly discover a bag marked "Evidence, Gotham City Police Department." Inside is your cell phone, a charger, a Joker playing card, and the following note:

"Wow. You really took the cake! Now put the icing on it. Call [number] immediately from this phone and this phone only. Do not give this phone number to anyone else.
Let's hope your fellow goons come through as well as you. Once all the layers are in place, you'll all get your just desserts. I'm a man of my word."

When you call the number, a woman from Rent-a-Clown says she knows who they are, thanks you for calling, and hangs up. Then you receive the following text message:
"Good work, clown! Keep this phone charged and with you at all times. Don't call me. I will call you – eventually."

This might sound like a scene from a movie, but it's real. And it's marketing. This is part of an elaborate and highly engaging viral marketing campaign to promote the new Batman movie The Dark Knight, which opens next summer.
This is also a great example of empowering your evangelists to market for you. Anyone receiving a cake and later a phone and then finally phone calls and text messages from The Joker and his cahorts are going to tell EVERYONE they know about this campaign. Pictures of the cake and phones are popping up all over the internet. You Tube even has videos of people "opening" their cakes and getting the cell phones.

And as you see here, the marketing itself becomes a topic of conversation. This is a great and fun way to create buzz for The Dark Knight, and I can't wait to see what 42 Entertainment comes up with next!

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier