January 16, 2008


1-18-08 ... roundup

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I've been making a list of upcoming movies for 2008 that look the most interesting; first in line is Cloverfield, so I thought as its now down to the wire (2 days to go), I'd write a final posting for the 1-18-08 movie phenomena, I've posted on this mysterious film three times before (click here for 1st, 2nd, 3rd).

Its just a couple days away now; So here's What We DO Know...

Title: Come to find out, the title is indeed Cloverfield, which had previously thought to be only a code-name for the film.

Plot: It is definitely about a monster attacking New York as told threw shots from at least one hand held digital camera (or more) (with 35-mm film segments slipped in). In a recent article in the New York Times about Paramount's chairman Brad Grey, it describes Abram's as figuring “[...]he could make the modern-day equivalent of “Godzilla” for $25 million or less, if he hired a bunch of no-name actors, shot much of the movie with a single $1,500 hand-held camera and threw the rest of his cash into special effects.”

Setting: Location is New York City. The events of the movie are set to occur as the movie premiers, 1-18-08; which is indicated by the time shown on the photos available at 1-18-08.com.

As for What We THINK We Know: The creature itself likely comes from the ocean. Evidence to support this includes: the official poster shows a trail under the water between the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan, the actual roar of the creature (see the BLOOP Theory), and actual clues found in several of the viral marketing sites that were created for promoting the film.

The BLOOP theory: the nature of the 'roar' heard in the preview actually matches closely that of an actual moan from an underwater creature that was recorded by US Navy researchers in 1997. According to those researchers, the source of that moan would have to have been something living and much bigger than any known creature due to strength of the roar at that depth.

As for the viral marketing evidence, read below in the list of websites relating to the film, specifically the mentions of Slusho.jp and Tagruato.jp. Also, fairly recently a video was released mimicking an actual news report of a ocean oil rig owned by the fictional Tagruato Corp. being mysteriously destroyed. It seems to be being pulled down from below.

here's a list of websites relating to the film:

Official viral marketing sites for the film

This site coinsided with the release of the first surprise teaser at the wide-release of Transformers back in July (at this time, the movie production was only about a week old; the trailer was filmed before the rest of the film). It offers little, except some floating photos taken the night of the party during which the Cloverfield movie takes place (the same time as it's wide release). As time as gone by, more photos have been added, including some very recently that appear to be of military ships and planes engaged in serious combat.

Also immediately coinciding with the release of the first surprise teaser was the fictitious Japanese beverage company's website: Slusho.jp. The Slusho logo is shown in the trailer in the main character's shirt. But how is it related to the film? The Slusho site (unlike the 1-18-08 site) is extremely elaborate; full of quirky flash animations.

In fact, if you look around the Slusho site you'll find a bunch of clues about the nature of the “monster” that is attacking the city--like these I found while looking around the Happy Talk section. One statement reads: “Am I a Whale?” Might I presume that this statement implies the creature comes from the ocean? Another statement reads: “Can I have a Slusho T-shirt size XXXL?” Can I presume this statement is implying that the creature is massive? Well, I think so for both counts.

If you look closely enough on the Slusho.jp site (specifically, the Distribution Opportunities page) you'll see that Slusho is a fictitious subsidiary of it's fictitious parent company Tagruto (Website: Tagruto.jp). Tagruto's stated principle business is deep sea drilling, which gives credit to the idea that the monster in Cloverfield is from the ocean, and is

Still another website was discovered even more recently; a fake activist organization against Tagruato by the name of TIDO Wave. So its possible that the actions of either of these fake organizations lead to rousing the mysterious creature in the movie.

Of course, all of this viral marketing, from the Slusho shirt in the trailer to the fake TIDO Wave organization website could be an extremely elaborate ruse to distract fans from the actual creature that attacks in the movie.

There are also various Myspace pages for the principle characters of the film, which have been updated to add to the anticipation of film's release.

The most significant finding related to the Myspace pages was a personal site for two of the film's characters Jamie and Teddy, a seemingly personal site where videos are created by Jamie for Teddy who is away on business. You have to find the password to access the videos. And while everything seemed to be going well for these two, and some speculated that this site actually had nothing to do with Cloverfield's viral marketing at all, but a recent video seemed to say otherwise...in the latest video (the ninth), the cryptic responce from Jamie (who does not believe Teddy's claim that he's in trouble) states that she's seeing things much clearer now thanks to the 'stuff' sent from Teddy. Could this stuff be related to Slusho??

This official promotional website isn't really part of the viral marketing campaign, but once the hype for the movie had extended to a more mainstream audience, and just in time for the 2007 holidays, two new trailers were shown, extending what we already knew about the movie, several new TV-spots and at least one radio spot was released, apparently some huge posters have been seen on buildings in NYC promoting the film, and now there's an official promotional website for the film: cloverfieldmovie.com. Things seemed to be quickly revving up in a more traditional marketing approach.

Official sites NOT directly related to the film:

Bad Robot
The second site I ever visited relating to the 1-18-08 movie phenomenon when I was searching for clues was Bad Robot's official site (badrobot.com); after all, aside from the date, and JJ Abrams name, the Bad Robot logo was all I remembered accompanying the very intriguing trailer. So far, the site has had nothing more than the static Bad Robot logo.

The Third Floor
The Third Floor is a company that did the previsualizations for cloverfield. Its mentioned in the company notes section in vague terms such as “After being tapped by JJ Abrams’ production company [bad robot] to work on the super-secret “Cloverfield” trailer, (as seen in front of Transformers); The Third Floor delivered previs for the entire feature – coming soon (01-18-08?) to a theatre near you! ” and “The Third Floor is thrilled to announce that our artists have been requested for JJ Abrams’ newest directorial project.” The Third Floor has also worked on Lord of the Rings, The Star Wars Prequels, resident evil 5, to name a few, so we can likely expect some amazing visuals for this film!

Unofficial sites relating to the film:

They certainly know who they're dealing with. Our first glimps of the Cloverfield phenomena was a surprise trailer that caught everybody off guard, shown before Transformers, where a bunch of unsuspecting (and lets be honest) nerds (myself included) were eager to see Transformers. Thats a smart way to target their audience, but I wonder if they had any idea just how effective their viral marketing strategy would be???

The most remarkable thing about this movie (I think) is the cult following that has sprang up following it. One of my favorite sites is 1-18-08news.com. The Forums there have been my preferred way to stay up on information relating to the film. Users there were able to confirm a detailed description of the new teaser trailers weeks before they were released.

There is also 1-18-08truth.com (which has a really nice flash-into parody of 1-18-08.com)

Well, Cloverfield has created an enormous cult following of fans for a movie even before its released and despite that they know next to nothing about the film beforehand. This is a completely opposite approach from the traditional Hollywood trend and so far its proven quite successful. This is what I find most interesting of all. Might this be a sign of things to come?

it really is genius, targeting nerds by setting the film to take place simultaneously as its released (which is unprecedented)and teasing them with shreds of carefully hidden information, causing them to become obsessed with a film. Who wouldn't be there at opening night??? I think very likely this will be a huge box-office success for Paramount, but I'll be surprised if the actual film lives up to the massive hype that has preceded it.

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