With shows like Lost and films like The Dark Knight popularizing the idea of viral marketing to take advantage of the excitement and word-of-mouth potential from their respective fanbases, it's practically become the norm for major summer blockbusters to employ similar types of alternate reality games (ARGs). The Avengers did it with their Acura-sponsored online campaign which let fans sign up to join the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization (I joined!) and right now, Men In Black 3 is doing it as well.
Allow me to
blow the cover introduce you to BugEyes, a kid who goes by Bugeyes126 on YouTube. He's a fictional character (or is he?) determined to find the truth behind the Men in Black and expose them. As we found out today, he also makes a brief appearance in the film itself.
The first video from BugEyes appeared March 1st where he introduced himself, a 1-888 number and a website (TheMenInBlackSuitsAreReal.com) where eager fans can participate by following along on BugEye's adventures, uncovering clues behind the existence of the strange men in black suits. Unfortunately, the viral - aimed at younger audiences - did not take off and the 44 videos posted on the account so far average only a few hundred views each.
For the dedicated who've followed along, the clip above adds some much-desired authenticity to the viral and for those who do not, perhaps this is your chance to climb aboard. That is, if you're truly excited for this weekend's opening of Men In Black 3, a sequel a decade in the making. Outside of the viral tie-in, the clip doesn't offer much for the movie. It depicts Agent K being his typical Tommy Lee Jones self with some standard banter between him and Agent J (Will Smith).
With last week's big budget 3D affair Battleship failing to take the number one spot from The Avengers, will the return of Will Smith to the big screen sci-fi sequel be enough to topple Earth's Mightiest in its fourth weekend? Count on it. Despite the lack of buzz for Men in Black, the movie's cast and brand are enough to ensure its success. We'll have to wait and see on its lasting power since the critical response is mixed from early reviews. While the film serves to conclude the trilogy, according to director Barry Sonnenfeld, it also serves to "reboot" the series so to speak and it can live on.
Men in Black III opens in theaters (2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D) on May 25, 2012.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.