Movie Marketing Online: 2012

I’ve been meaning to write about this movie since I first saw the preview. I must be talking about it quite a bit because @nataliewires asked me yesterday if I really believed the world was going to end in 2012!

For the record: No, I don’t.

I first saw a preview of the new movie 2012 on television a week ago; after the clip was over, the TV spot directed me to for the full-length version:

Then I found this trailer at YouTube, which, at the end, directed viewers to search for “2012.”

I, of course, had to oblige. This is what I found:

Google Search Results for 2012 - 10/06/09

In addition to the official movie site,, the search results pages include Wikipedia pages as well as Web sites built by devotees of the Mayan doomsday prophecy, lending more credibility to the premise of the film. You’ll find the same type of results at Yahoo!, Bing, and Ask.

The premise is that a global cataclysm brings civilization to its knees while the survivors battle for control of what remains.

The official site is the hub around which the back story of the film is told online. Through it, you’ll find links to the online presence of the various factions within the film.

This is the End is the blog by Charlie Frost, where he details his conspiracy theories. Woody Harrelson’s character also has a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account and a YouTube channel, at which Frost video blogs:

Frost often comments on the activity at the Corruption Theory blog written by an anonymous political blogger who fancies himself a government watchdog.

News Done Right is a citizen journalism site that reports on the state of the post-apocalyptic world.

The Institute for Human Continuity, or IHC, is an organization lead by Dr. Soren Ulfert and devoted to the survival of the human species. The IHC also organizes elections:

The IHC has a Twitter account, a Facebook page and group, a YouTube channel, as well as an elections section to their web site.

Soren himself has a blog called After the IHC, in addition to his own Twitter account and YouTube channel.

John Cusack’s character, Jackson Curtis, is a novelist whose book Farewell Atlantis foreshadowed the apocalypse. The book, of course, has a Web site and a Facebook page to promote it.

Interest in the film, not surprisingly, is high.

Google Trends Chart for 2012 - 2004-2009

The depth of content for this online campaign is staggering. If you wanted to spend the time, you could immerse yourself in the film world even before seeing the actual film. If the movie proves successful, you’ve already got the infrastructure in place to extend the experience and maintain interest while a sequel is in development.

By online standards, this campaign is fairly significant but when you compare it to promotional/advertising budgets for a typical Hollywood blockbuster, it’s the equivalent of office supplies.

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