NIN Builds Album Hype with Somber World Forecasts
For album "Year Zero," Nine Inch Nails sets fans on a scavenger hunt with a series of webpages predicting the future. One example is Another Version of the Truth, a picture of a seemingly gentler America. When you click and drag your mouse, the pastoral picture reveals a desolate wasteland.
The first of the sites was discovered by fans who put together a set of highlighted words on a tour shirt. After that a spiral of other sites were found with roughly the same end-of-the-world, fascist/religious theme.
The effort was orchestrated by 42 Entertainment, the mad geniuses responsible for the Halo 2 campaign that sparked a dramatic nationwide search for a princess trapped in cyberspace.
Like Halo 2, The NIN promotion leaks out of the 'net and into real life. Allegedly their single "My Violent Heart" leaked after its discovery in a flash drive left in a bathroom in Portugal. Digg users think it's a plant, rightfully so if we know 42, but mythology adds fuel to fan fire.
Other sites involved include bethehammer.net, 105thairbornecrusaders.com, churchofplano.com, and iamtryingtobelieve.com. Digit notes each site has a distorted overlay, part of the NIN motif but also a gimmick 42 uses to add a sense of "wtf?!!" to user discoveries.
This is the way a viral campaign should be run - with a brand using multiple forms of media to play with its users and leave them things to find and chase after. After all this work we can only hope NIN's "Year Zero" sucks less than their last album. Hype has two edges.
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