Sometimes marketing a movie requires a deep interwoven alternate reality game, with multiple layers all cris-crossing the web in a vast marketing matrix in order to drive awareness online (see, Salt, Inception, Tron, Cloverfeld for brilliantly executed examples of this in action). However, sometimes all it takes is a guy in an ill fitting Halloween mask pushing his head through a curtain.
Such is the premise for a recent viral promoting the seventh (we're promised final) installment in the long running Saw horror movie franchise. Yes, Jigsaw is rearing his head once again, with all the regularness of a Halloween Santa. This time to up the odds they are bringing out the movie in the now obligatory 3D, and they have revived Cary Elewes' character - everyone’s favourite Princess Bride turned foot hacker.
In order to promote the film a SAW VII 3D Photo Booth was set up in a cinema foyer in Sydney, advertising free Halloween photos. However, those venturing inside were also joined by a very low budget 3D effect once they were suitable prepped by the darkness and Saw styled voiceover. On the third flash of the photo booth a head wearing a Saw mask protruded into the booth from behind a trap door, to obvious screams and bodies fleeing in terror.
It’s not big or clever, but it brought the film's tag line 'The Traps Come Alive' home in a simple and effective - and highly memorable - way on-site.
This reaction-based campaign has similarities to the Chatroulette promotion for The Last Exorcism, and utilises the voyeuristic nature of the horror franchise – i.e watching others suffer – to full viral effect, pushing both the photos and the video via the movie's Facebook page.