Tron is, by definition, a cult classic that spawned a video game, a comic book and an up and coming TV series. The movie was released in 1982 to mixed critical review, while it had a solid story and featured the first heavy use of CGI in a feature film it never appealed to the critics or the general public. But there definitely were enough neon clothes and light cycle coolness to woo sci-fi fans across many generations.
As time went by and the movie picked up more and more fans, talks and gossip about a possible sequel started to emerge. Maybe a continuation of the original story, some said it might even be a remake that would bring it to the 21st century. Finally, in 2008’s San Diego Comic Con, and after 26 years of anticipation, speculation came to a head and Disney featured a preliminary trailer of Tron Legacy.
On February 25th, a viral campaign appeared on several websites that gave fans a chance to pick up the tickets to the premiere of the Tron Legacy in 5 different cities around the world.
What is it about?
The site Flynnlives.com, which was released in an earlier viral campaign last year, sent some fan mail that contained a various bits and the word “/zerohour” in a box. That lead fans to a page that had some sort of a countdown and set them on a scavenger hunt in 27 locations spread across 25 countries in order to unlock the mystery.
Those who go to the locations need to find an operative (e.g. Atlanta) wearing a “Flynn lives” T-shirt who will hand them a cell phone and a number to call in order to expose the next clue. Each of those clues will reveal a picture from the original Tron movie, which when clicked will reveal a bigger picture in the background. The Parisian prize winner blogged about her experience here.
The event culminated in revealing 5 locations in IMAX theaters that showed the latest trailer to the movie, but there was still more. Fans also managed to uncover a hidden discussion forum that seemed to include even more clues that fans are hard at work trying to crack it. They also released video of a meet up of Flynn fans on the site.
A lot of movie fans, bloggers and twitter users talked and blogged about the campaign. Furthermore, Jeff Bridges won an Oscar which also gave a boost to the #flynnlives hashtag on Twitter.
Search for terms related to Tron increased quite considerably after the campaign showing the success of it.
Why did it do what it did?
42 Entertainment, which masterminded this campaign, did an excellent job including so many people in so many countries unlike what was done with a similar campaign for the Dark Knight. But it wasn’t just that, the campaign did many things extremely well:
- The campaign knew its audience, and didn’t water down the clues or the mystery. It catered to its niche audience and had faith in their abilities and challenged them.
- It didn’t limit the exposure of the campaign to a geographic location or medium. Given that Tron is a global brand, it was marketed to a global audience. People could participate in the campaign in both real life and online and each side have enough goodies to keep them interested and coming back for more.
- Taking on such a big campaign showed confidence in their product, that in turn will generate buzz that will help to push the movie on its release to a bigger debut, Snakes on a Plane style.
After being away for almost 30 years, it is still amazing how the Tron brand adapted to the times and it found its place right at home in the current internet age, so let’s hope the movie lives up to the hype and becomes another classic from Disney.
What do you think of the Tron Legacy campaign? Let us hear your thoughts.