Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cloverfield – A Viral Marketer’s Look

New York Magazine’s Conner Kilpatrick interviewed Ian Schafer, CEO of marketing firm Deep Focus, to find out what he thinks about JJ Abram’s latest viral campaign.

"In my opinion, this Slusho thing is not that integral to the plot. People are throwing red herrings out there." A professional herring slinger himself, Schafer weighed in on some of the more popular Cloverfield theories making the rounds.

The Four Horsemen Theory: A Hello Kitty–esque horse appears on the Slusho Website and more than a few fanboys have spotted a horselike creature in the trailer. "I think it's possible," Schafer says. "I remember hearing a while ago that this is an end-of-the-world kind of thing, where something was sent from faraway to basically have Armageddon. Maybe Slusho is the first of four Websites with a horse on it? Maybe that's a clue. The four horsemen ride in, and it rains fire and brimstone and all that kind of stuff."

The Sea Monster Theory: The Slusho Website contains a cryptic bit of company history involving a girl who, because she drinks so much of the beverage, is called the "Smallest Whale." The roar in the trailer even sounds something like a whale song. "One of the [theories] is that [the monster is a] giant amphibian. A gigantic animal woken from its slumber under the sea. Some kind of alien that was planted here," Schafer says.

The Global Warming Theory: The Slusho Website says the drink's secret ingredient comes from deep within the ocean and must be kept freezing. Take a look at the trailer and you'll see that day's temperature in the newscast is 63 degrees — pretty hot for a New York January. Are we looking too close? Maybe not. "People are being rewarded for paying attention," speculates Schafer.

The It's-Just-a-Monster-Movie Theory: "With Cloverfield," Schafer says, "I would imagine that we're probably overestimating the amount of thought that goes into this."

I tend to agree with Mr. Schafer about Slusho and also with the “It’s just a Monster Movie theory. What do you guys think? Please leave your comments.